Whether you’re preparing your child for their first day of school or sending your teenager off to their last year of high school, back to school season is the perfect chance to consider your child’s spinal health. With the customary oversized backpacks for prep kids and the textbook-laden bags of high school students, it is important to establish and develop healthy habits that will help your children with their spinal health for the rest of their lives.
Our Top Tips For Happy Kids & Healthy Spines
One of the main factors affecting the spinal health of children in Australia is carrying a backpack. In fact, according to the Chiropractor’s Association of Australia¹, ‘90% of school children have poor posture when carrying their bags and could experience spinal damage as a result’. Additionally, ‘75% are not using their backpack’s ergonomic features which could prevent such damage’.
Fortunately, a few simple lifestyle changes can help to prevent your child from developing poor posture and long-term spinal health problems such as:
Choose An Appropriately Sized Bag
First, ensure that your child is using an appropriately sized bag. The width of the backpack should be no wider than the child’s chest. Additionally, when packing your child’s backpack, place heavier items at the bottom of the bag, as close to the spine as possible.
Adjust The Straps
Make sure that the straps are adjusted to the correct length where the backpack sits evenly in the middle of your child’s back, ensuring that the bag does not sit lower than the hollow of the lower back. This is because if the backpack is worn too low the body will naturally overcompensate by leaning forward, causing the weight to be supported by the lower back rather than the shoulders.
Regularly Check The Weight
It is important to regularly check the weight of your child’s backpack to ensure that it isn’t too heavy. As a general rule, backpacks should be no heavier than 5 to 10% of the child’s body weight. If possible, have your child use a locker to store unrequired items in order to reduce the weight of their bag.
Additionally, make sure you only pack the essentials to keep their bag as light as possible.
Ensure Backpack Is Worn Correctly
Finally, ensure that your child is wearing their bag correctly with both straps. This helps to evenly distribute the weight to prevent back pain and muscle spasms. If available, sternum, waist, and compression straps should also be secured.
If your child suffers from back pain, book an appointment with your local family chiropractor. We can also offer preventative advice and tips to reduce the risk of back to school back and shoulder pain.
Chiropractic treatment is specific to the age and development of the child and we will always tell you what is going to happen before any treatment is given. Back To Front Chiropractic are your local family chiropractors offering quality chiropractic care for the whole family. Call us today on 07 3393 2201 to book your child in for a postural assessment.