With so many backpacks being sold every year, it is challenging for many parents to decide on the best style for their kids. If you are curious about long term damage from a heavy backpack WebMD states — “A lot of parents come in to my office thinking that their child might have scoliosis because of a heavy backpack,” says Lori Karol, MD, a spokesperson for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS). In reality, explains Karol, scoliosis is not a danger. But kids’ backpacks can cause back, shoulder, and neck pain when they’re too heavy and worn for the better part of eight hours a day.
Although scoliosis may not pose a serious risk, the likelihood of a child falling increases when he is carrying a book bag that is overloaded. According to WebMD — “If kids are carrying a 40-pound backpack and they weigh 80 pounds, they can fall right over or not have enough stability to balance themselves throughout the day, risking wrist, arm, or leg injury, or worse.”
You can help your child to avoid pain, by shopping for a quality book bag that will be comfortable and long lasting. If you plan on beginning your back to school shopping in the near future, here are a few tips on choosing the best backpack for your child.
Basics of Shopping for the Best Backpack
Check the Straps. Select a backpack that is worn on both shoulders. Messenger bag styles (one shoulder) should be avoided, because they do not distribute the weight from the books properly. A single strap places all of the weight on a child’s shoulder, so you want to look for backpack styles that have double straps. The straps should also provide padding in order to maximize your child’s comfort while wearing the book bag. The bag should also provide a waist strap.
Pick the Right Size. The backpack you buy should not appear too big for your child. A lot of parents buy items hoping that a child will grow into them, but this is not the right approach for purchasing a backpack. Make sure the book bag you buy for your child this year does not hang below his hip area.
Look for Padding in the Back. If a backpack has padding in the back, it will provide lumbar support. The existence of this support will help to reduce strain on the shoulders.
Evaluate the Design. Make sure the backpack is made of a sturdy material and that it provides a functional design. An ideal bag has plenty of compartments for storage space, and is made of material like ballistic or nylon. Definitely keep in mind that any child’s backpack will sustain a lot of wear and tear during the course of a school year.
Tip – A bag should hold no more than 15-20% of your child’s body weight. According to WebMD, 10% is actually an ideal target for the weight of your child’s backpack for school. You can stick the loaded book bag on your scale at home for an approximate weight.
For additional tips on how to shop for the best backpack this year check out WebMD.