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5 Backpack Safety Tips

These tips will keep your child's back from being overloaded by a heavy bag.

By Shaun Dreisbach for www.Parenting.com

Lugging more than 10 percent of his/her body weight (which isn't much -- about five and a half pounds for a 55-pound child) can be a serious pain in a child's back. Some ways to lighten the load:

Choose a backpack that has two wide straps with good padding to distribute the load evenly.

Adjust the height. "Kids like to leave the straps loose so the bag hangs off their back," says Timothy Neuschwander, M.D., lead author of a study conducted at the University of California, San Diego, on backpack side effects. "That may cause pain because the lower back is carrying all the weight, rather than the shoulders doing more of the work." Tighten straps so the bag is centered on the back, ideally above the lower curve of the spine.

Use both straps. The one-shoulder method may be cool, but it adds serious pressure and throws body alignment out of whack.

Weigh the bag. Plunk it on a scale and then have your child step on (without the backpack). Do the math, and pull things out of the bag until you get below that 10-percent-of-body-weight limit.

Have him/her checked. If your child complains of back pain-even if it seems minor-talk to your chiropractor. No amount of achiness is normal, and a chiropractor can recommend strengthening exercises to help ease the pain.

This article was written by Shaun Dreisbach and we agree.  At Staudenmaier Chiropractic Wellness Center, S.C. we are concerned with Backpack Safety and the health of your child’s spine. The spine is something you keep a lifetime and their health is determined by the nerves that run through the spinal cord. “Health Comes from Within” and we look forward to working with you to keep your child healthy.

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