This week on WCAP 980 AM trendymommies report we talked about backpacks – What makes a good one? What are the trends? Aren’t they too heavy? What safety tips can we share? We found out The Massachusetts Chiropractic Society Inc. offers a few guidelines on backpack safety.
As for the trends – Stores have lots of sparkle in their backpacks this season for the girls and of course the skull print is still around and lots of polka dots, quilted and guitar themed backpacks are in stores. The big retailers have great backpacks – LL Bean and Lands End but don’t forget about Gap Kids and Hanna Anderson as they have fun colors.
LL Bean does have the various sizes so you can buy for your pre-school student to you college student. Messenger Bags are pretty popular but be careful as they tend to be slung over one shoulder. I let my kids carry them on half-days when the book load is light. In fact every year we usually snag a messenger bag on sale at Old Navy, if not for school for other trips.
But don’t let fashion take a priority over function and safety. The Massachusetts Chiropractic Society Inc. offers these backpack safety tips:
· Make sure the child’s backpack weights no more than 5 to 10 percent of their body weight. A heavier backpack will cause the child to bend forward in an attempt to support the weight on his or her back. For example a 50-pound child should not carry more than 5 pounds.
· Where it sits makes a big difference. A backpack should never land more than four inches below the waistline. A backpack that hangs too low increases the weight on the shoulders, causing the child to lean forward when walking and distort their posture.
· Urge a child to wear both shoulder straps. Lugging the backpack around by one strap can cause the disproportionate shift of weight to one side, leading to neck and muscle spasms, as well as low-back pain.
· The shoulder straps should be adjustable so the backpack can be fitted to your child’s body. Straps that are too loose can cause the backpack to dangle uncomfortably and cause spinal misalignment and pain.
· Wide, padded straps are very important. Non-padded straps are uncomfortable and can dig into the child’s shoulders.
· Use rollerpacks or backpacks on wheels with caution. Children tend to overload these packs because they are on wheels and then need to haul them up bus and school stairs resulting in injury. Many school districts have banned rollerpacks because they clutter hallways resulting in dangerous trips and falls.
· A backpack with individualized compartments helps in positioning the contents most effectively. Make sure that pointy or bulky objects are packed away from the area that will rest on your child’s back.
· Just because a backpack is bigger does not mean it’s better. The more room there is in a backpack, the more your child will carry and the heavier the backpack will be.
· Investigate some ergonomically correct backpacks