Does Your Kid’s Backpack Make the Grade?

School’s open and that means meeting new friends, new teachers and learning. It shouldn’t mean mistakenly hurting your kids. 
 
With the start of school, parents will be faced with the dreaded supply list, which usually includes a backpack. Although your kids might lobby for the latest Disney character or a One Direction backpack, it’s more important to consider how the backpack is made.

“You want to make sure your kids have a sturdy backpack that has a waist belt, which will distribute weight more evenly to the pelvis,” says rehab expert and MPT owner Beth Winkler-Schmit.”The pack should also have side or bottom straps that can be tightened, so the contents aren’t moving around. A padded back is a good idea as well.”
 
For some kids and parents, a backpack with wheels might be a good choice. However, these can be difficult taking up and down stairs. Additionally, make sure the handle is long enough, so your child doesn’t have to stoop or twist to use it, and that it has decent size wheels. When checking out a backpack, it’s a good idea to bring some books to test it out with your child. 

In a very comprehensive article, the American Physical Therapy Association presents a number of solid recommendations for choosing a backpack. 

Winkler-Schmit also says that it’s important for your eager scholars not to overload their backpacks. The weight shouldn’t exceed more than 15 percent of their body weight.

“Periodically, ask your kid how the backpacks feel,” Winkler-Schmit says. “If it’s causing back pain, leaving  marks on their arms, or making their arms tingle, it’s time to lighten the load.”

 

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