Choose the Right Backpack for your child’s health! - Medshield
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Choose the Right Backpack for your child’s health!

Posted in Medshield Wellness   |   January 9th, 2020

Your child’s school backpack will probably be the hardest-working item in your back to school shopping. The backpack will be used every day to take items to and from school.

A Backpack Needs to Fit Properly

“Backpacks that do not fit properly, or are used incorrectly, have the potential to cause back and shoulder strain or pain. When shopping for a backpack, consider proper fit and comfort over price. Often times, the best backpack may not be the most stylish, or expensive.

To find a backpack with the proper fit, use the following tips:

1. Choose the proper size: The width of a backpack should be relatively proportionate to the person’s width. For instance, a small child should not opt for an adult-sized backpack. Further, the backpack’s height should extend from approximately two inches below the shoulder blades to waist level, or just slightly above the waist.

2. Look for broad straps with padding for the shoulders, both to offer more comfort, and protect the shoulders from excessive pressure. It is important that both straps be used in order to distribute the weight of the backpack evenly. Using just one strap adds extra strain to that one shoulder. Adjustable straps are useful, not just for proper fit but for proper positioning – again, the backpack should sit just slightly above the waist and both straps should stay even in length.

3. Go for backpacks with pockets, slots, and dividers to evenly distribute the weight: In addition to utilizing both shoulder straps and ensuring the pack sits at the right height, consider backpacks that offer pockets, slots, and dividers to help evenly distribute extra weight. Heavier items should be placed closer to the person’s back, within the pack. Lighter items may sit further from the body. 

4. Keep the weight of the packed backpack to 15% of your child’s’ bodyweight. It is important not to weigh down backpacks. This is especially true when considering children. The backpack, as well as its contents, shouldn’t total more than 15% of a person’s weight.

5. Test before your purchase: Bring a few personal items that you would normally carry in your backpack to the store with you. Slip them into the backpack as you try them on to get a better sense of weight distribution, etc.

6. If it has chest or waist straps, make sure they sit properly on your child. Some backpacks offer chest or waist straps designed to help distribute weight. If they do not sit properly on your child, they will not help distribute weight and may even lead to discomfort.

  • A hip belt should wrap around your child’s hips.
  • A chest strap should be adjusted to bring the shoulder straps in so the arms can move freely.
  • The height of the chest strap should be placed where it is the most comfortable for the child.

Always remind your child to use both shoulder straps. Slinging a backpack over one shoulder can strain muscles.

DISCLAIMER: The information on this blog post is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.

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