Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Best Way for Your Child to Wear their Backpack

Published: Sep 2, 2014 

MOSCOW, ID - It's the end of the first week of school for most students in our region and that means backpacks are quickly filling up with books, homework and supplies.

That can all get pretty heavy, so it's important your child is wearing their backpack the right way. Jenee' Ryan met with Gritman Therapy Solutions in Moscow to find out the best way to wear a backpack.

"Do you have a lot of weight in your backpack?" said Physical Therapist, Shirley Rencken.

"Yea," said Maddyson Garnett.

Most kids would answer the same way. Backpack fit and size is crucially important during grade school and high school years. 

"At that age their bodies and their muscles, their bones and joints are all maturing and forming and we want to minimize the impact of injuries at a young age," said Rencken.

Some common consequences include bad posture and chronic back pain. Rencken pointed out some common backpack mistakes. 

"It's way too big for her," said Rencken. "It hits way down here below her bottom and it should fit more up into the small of her back."

This is how it should look.

"It fits right up to the top of her shoulder blade and it hits in the small of her back," said Rencken. 

It's also very important to keep the weight of the bag even on the back. 

"It's going to be loading her back in an awkward position because she's got weight hanging on one side," said Rencken. "So the best thing to do with your water bottles is to fill them when you get to school or even put them inside your backpack so the weight is centered."

But don't let that backpack get too heavy. 

"This is about nine pounds of books, which is the maximum weight for madison," said Rencken.

Backpacks should never weigh more than 15-percent of the child's body weight, so utilize lockers throughout the day and maybe have them carry some stuff. Also, make sure the backpack is snug and your child uses both straps, padded preferably, and if they have a belly strap, use that too.

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