We often look for baclpacks that are stylish, fashionable and durable. But many thanks to RENEÉ HEWITT of Topical BioMedics for advice on backpacks for kids.
She reminds us that heavy backpacks worn incorrectly can cause serious back, neck and shoulder pain.
Tips for Back Safety
Lou Paradise, president and chief of research of Topical BioMedics, a topical pain ointment for kids, offers the following tips for proper backpack safety:
-Make sure backpacks fit properly and have padded backs and straps.
-Children should wear BOTH straps – slinging a backpack over one shoulder can strain muscles.
-Teach your child to pack light only carry what is necessary to avoid any excess weight.
-A backpack should weigh no more than 10 - 20 percent of the child’s body weight.
-The backpack’s straps should fit snuggly over the child’s shoulders.
-Parents should pick up their child’s backpack on a regular basis to gauge its weight.
-Make sure the backpack is positioned on the back between the shoulder and not resting on the child’s lower back or hips.
-Tighten the straps so the pack sits close to the body.
-Organize the pack carefully and pack the heavier items closet to the center of the back.
-If your child experiences back pain, weakness or numbness in the arms or legs, be sure to speak with your doctor.
Look for Signs That Signal a Backpack is Too Heavy
-A change in your child’s posture when wearing the backpack
-Struggling to put on or take off the backpack
-Pain when wearing the backpack
-Red marks from the shoulder straps after the backpack has been removed.
Features to Look for When Choosing a Backpack
-Two shoulder straps to distribute weight evenly
-Wide, padded shoulder straps that won’t dig into shoulders causing pain and cutting off circulation
-Padded back provides more comfort and protects children from being poked by sharp objects inside the backpack
-Backpack should be made of durable, lightweight material
-Waist belt to distribute the weight more evenly across the body
-Backpacks with wheels are an excellent choice for students who must tote a heavy load, but are less practical for use in snow during the winter months
To learn more about Topricin Junior, go to http://www.topricin.com
Pam Parker is an award-winning writer and editor for Lake Erie LifeStyle, Her Times and House to Home at the Erie Times-News in Erie, Pa.