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Is Your Child Carrying a Heavy Academic Load?

EastPerthChiroCBAs you and your child make preparations for school, remember their backpack. Backpacks that are too heavy, poorly packed or improperly worn may produce spinal problems.

“We chiropractors are skilled in the evaluation of backpack safety,” observes Dr. Alan Le. “We’re the go-to professionals that parents and educators consult. Our intent is to help prevent poor posture and long-term spinal health issues.”

When Is a Backpack Too Heavy?

Over the last 15 years, backpacks have been getting larger and heavier. Junior school children are carrying the heaviest backpacks in relation to their body weight.

The Australian Chiropractic Association recently studied junior school children. Many are carrying the equivalent of 17 percent of their body weight. This far exceeds the suggested limit.

And they are bulging. A typical backpack contains a laptop, exercise books, textbooks, technology, lunch box and water bottles. Not to mention jumpers, hats, umbrellas and even sporting equipment.

SUGGESTION: When packed, your child’s backpack should weigh no more than 10% of your child’s weight. If a child weighs 50kg, that means their backpack should weigh no more than 5kg.

How to Wear a Backpack Properly

Your child’s backpack should be no wider than his or her chest. It should be made of lightweight material and have an adjustable frame. Ideally it should have separate compartments to prevent shifting and insure even weight distribution.

A backpack shouldn’t be worn any lower than the hollow of their lower back. The heaviest items should be packed closest to their spine.

While most children are using both backpack straps, 20 percent use a single strap with their backpack slung over one shoulder. This imbalanced weight distribution can place pressure on a growing spine.

SUGGESTION: Make sure your child’s backpack is equipped with adjustable waist and sternum straps. And make sure that they are being used! Remind your child that using a single shoulder strap is not a fashion statement.

Arrange a Professional Evaluation

An incorrectly worn backpack may produce forward head posture, slouching and uneven hips. Identifying and stopping these postural distortions early is important. Especially among spines that are still developing during the adolescent years.

If your child needs a new backpack, consider the Chiropak. It’s been developed in conjunction with the Australian Chiropractors Association. The design helps reduce the incidence and severity of spinal issues.

SUGGESTION: Not sure if your child’s backpack is right for him or her? Schedule a no-obligation backpack inspection in our practice. We can quickly determine the proper fit, size and weight. Ring us today.

Sources: www.eastperthchiro.com.au/dr-alan-le/

Watch Dr Le’s TV interview on this topic here. 

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