Ask A Pro

Q

My middle school daughter always seems to overload her backpack and I am concerned about her spine, HELP.

 
A

Wearing backpacks that are too heavy or worn incorrectly can put children and teenagers at risk for spinal injuries. The backpack should never weigh more than 10-15 percent of your daughter’s body weight. I also recommend that students wear both shoulder straps, preferably padded, over the shoulders. Using one strap or a one-strap backpack that crosses the body is conducive to asymmetrical poor posture (one side of the body is being overloaded). The back pack should rest evenly on the back and not extend beyond the lower back. A backpack with a hip or chest belt can distribute a heavy load from the back and shoulders to the hips and torso.

To keep your daughter injury free, make sure that she does not have poor forward bent posture when wearing the backpack. Children should not have pain, numbness or tingling, or red marks on their bodies from the use of a backpack, or struggle when putting it on or taking it off.

Remember always remind your daughter to lift the backpack correctly, to bend at the knees and to apply one shoulder strap at a time.

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