Is your child’s backpack too heavy?

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Some of the backpacks that kids bring home today seemingly weigh more than the kid themselves. These heavy backpacks can lead to pain and soreness, progressing towards musculoskeletal issues in the future if not addressed.

Some signs that may mean the backpack is too heavy are:

  • Pain between the shoulder blades when wearing the backpack
  • Indentations or red markings on the shoulders
  • Complains of tingling and/or numbness in the hands or arms

Here are a few key components on backpacks to consider, preventing these problems from occurring:

  • Fit: The base of the backpack should rest centered in the middle of the back. Both shoulder straps should always be worn on top of the shoulder as well as under the arms, with the arms having the ability to freely move.
    • Avoid the backpack sagging down to hips/buttocks.
  • Weight: The backpack should not weigh more than 10% of the student’s bodyweight.
    • While it is important to be prepared for classes, being judicious with what is placed in the backpack each day is important.
  • Structure: The ideal backpack would have padded shoulder straps with hip and/or sternum straps to equally distribute weight as well as prevent frequent movement/friction of the backpack.

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