Backpacks too heavy for the kids?
Children can be injuring their backs and damaging their posture by carrying backpacks that are too heavy. According to a research article (Leffert RD – Orthop Clin North Am – 01-Apr-2000; 31(2): 331-45), there are some concerns for children who carry heavy backpacks to and from school. Here are some things to consider:
Chronic low level trauma is the chief culprit in the injury process. Do not expect your child to just collapse under the excessive weight of a backpack. Instead, they can suffer mild, low level trauma which has a cumulative effect on their spinal health.
Backpacks should not weigh more than 10-20% of your child’s body weight. If you have a 60 lb. 2nd grader, the loaded backpack should not be more than 6-12 lbs. Even 12 lbs is a bit much for a 2nd grader spine. Their postural muscles are still in the development phase.
Back packs should be carried on both shoulders in order to more evenly distribute the weight. When the backpack is worn on one shoulder there is an adaptive posture assumed. The spine takes on a convexity to balance the weight.
Here are some questions to ask yourself about your child’s posture and spinal health.
- Does your child complain of back pain?
- Does he walk bent over sideways to try to adjust for the heavy load of a backpack?
- Does he complain of numbness and tingling in his arms or hands?
If your child has any of the above symptoms, please contact us. We will sit down with you and discuss your options for keeping your child’s spine healthy.
I practice what I preach. I carry a backpack when I ride my motorcycle,
Dr. Andrew White
Orange Backpack Carrying Chiropractor