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Friday, 30 August 2013

Pack it Light, Wear it Right!

It's that time of year again.  Very soon children will be back to school and often wearing heavy, and poor fitting book bags.  Although every student needs a book bag, an over-packed and poorly fitted one can cause health problems.

Did you know that 50% of young people will experience at least one episode of low back pain by the time they are teenagers?

Carrying a book bag that is too heavy and/or is not properly packed can cause circulation problems, increased blood pressure, strained muscles, nerve impingement, and spinal pain. 

Ask yourself these questions to determine whether your child’s book bag is properly designed and comfortable:
  • Is it positioned below your child’s shoulder and above the hipbone?  
  • Is it made of lightweight material? 
  • Does it have adjustable, padded shoulder straps that are at least two inches wide?  
  • Does it have a padded back for added protection and comfort?  
  • Does it come with a hip strap or waist belt, which would help redistribute the weight or contents?  
  • Does it have several individual pockets instead of one large compartment?  
  • Does your child carry the book bag over both shoulders?  
  • Can your child stand upright comfortably while wearing the book bag?  

If the answer to any of these questions is "Yes", then here are a few tips to make sure your child's book bag is safe and not causing undue physical stress

Make sure the backpack weighs less than 10 per cent of your child’s body weight (or less than 15 per cent for high school students).
  • Avoid leather book bags; choose a lightweight material.  
  • The book bag shouldn’t rise above the shoulders or extend below the hipbone.  
  • Pack the heaviest or bulkiest items closest to the child’s back.   
  •   Ensure your child wears both shoulder straps.  
  • To put the book bag on, a child should place it on a table or chair, bend at the knees and lift with the legs while putting on one shoulder strap at a time.

  • Your child will carry his or her book bag for many hours throughout the school year.  In order to avoid problems now and later in life, it is important for them to Pack it Light and Wear it Right!

    If you have any questions about this topic, or anything else, please contact us at 747-0844 or drop by our clinic in Bidgood's Plaza

    Dr. Jeff Marshall, BScKin, DC

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