As many of us prepare for our children’s return to school, it’s important to choose the right type of school bag to reduce the amount of stress placed on the spine. At Pilates of Mt Eliza, our Physiotherapists suggest the following to help minimize the risk of injury from backpacks:
Key features when purchasing a backpack:
- Wide shoulder straps that are comfortable and sit well on the shoulder.
- Waist and chest straps to help transfer some of the load to hips and pelvis.
- A padded back support that allows the pack to fit ‘snugly’ on the back and protect the child from being poked by sharp edges on the objects such as pencils, rulers, or notepads.
- Have multiple compartments to distribute the load and prevent it from shifting.
- Check for a backpack which carries an endorsement from a professional health organisation.
Sizing of the backpack:
- The top of the backpack should not be more than 3cm higher than the shoulders so that the child can look up at the ceiling without hitting it.
- The bottom of the bag should be slightly lower than the iliac crest.
- If you child’s bag has a waist strap, it should wrap around the body just below the iliac crest. This allows some of the bags weight to be taken by the hips, reducing the load on the back and shoulders.
- If the bag contains a sternal strap, this should be positioned 6cm below the collarbone.
- When sitting with the backpack on, the pack should not extend higher than the child’s shoulders.
Considerations with use:
- Child should not be carrying more than 10% of their body weight.
- Keep the load close to the spine – pack the heaviest items nearest your child’s back.
- Child must wear both straps at all times in order to distribute weight evenly across both shoulders, rather than put the strain on one.
- Always wear the waist belt.
- Encourage your child to be organised when packing their school bag to ensure they are only carrying what they need.
To get your child’s backpack fitted properly by a Physiotherapist, book an appointment at our clinic on 9775 4000.