Oh, my child's aching back!

Filed under: Health & Safety: Babies, Development/Milestones: Babies

As a follow up to last week's post about the science of choosing just the right pack for your child, here are some suggestions on how to help your child manage carrying a load of knowledge every day.

It's that time of year when many of you are thinking about buying a backpack for the new year. The North American Spine Society (NASS) offered the following tips on how to prevent backpack-related problems and injuries with your child:
  • Pack light. The loaded pack should not weigh more than 10 percent to 15 percent of the child's body weight. As a general rule, backpacks should weigh about five to 10 pounds for elementary students and no more than 15 pounds for older students.
  • Organize the pack so that heavy items are close to the wearer's back. Use the pack's smaller compartments to store loose items. Distribute the weight evenly.
  • Always use both straps and adjust them snugly on the shoulders. Readjust the straps every time the pack is loaded in order to ensure that the weight is properly supported.
  • Educate children about backpack safety and the risk of neck and spine injuries due to improper backpack use. Encourage children to practice proper posture while they're wearing a backpack.
In addition, children should be active in order to strengthen the muscles in and around the back and neck. Parents who are concerned about the heavy loads their children are carrying can: Contact the school and work with teachers to identify ways to lighten the load. Purchase two sets of school books -- one set for home and the other to be left at school. A less costly option is to make photocopies of the week's book chapters at the library. Hope these suggestions prove useful to you.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.