Take the Pain out of Going Back to School- Back Pack Safety

In an August 3, 2006 release by the Ontario Chiropractic Association carried by the CNW Group, the chiropractors of Ontario are offering safety reminders to children who are returning to school after a summer break. These reminders relate to carefully selecting and using backpacks for children.

Dr. Bryan Wolfe, President of the Ontario Chiropractic Association (OCA) starts off by saying, "Excessive or unevenly distributed weight in a backpack can put strain on a child`s growing spine, which can lead to serious back pain, changes in posture and gait, and potential irritation and injury of the spine, joints and muscles."

The OCA has initiated a public education program called, "Pack It Light. Wear It Right."  The purpose of this campaign is to try to avoid problems caused by heavy, or improper backpacks.  To accomplish this the OCA is providing things such as posters, information and activity literature, and a video that shows the proper way to pack, lift, carry, and even choose a backpack.

Dr. Kristina Peterson, chair of the OCA`s External Relations Committee added, "Following a few simple guidelines can make a world of difference for your child`s spinal health." Some of recommendations include:

  • Choose a backpack that is proportionate to body size and not larger than needed.
  • Select a backpack made of lightweight material.
  • The shoulder straps should be at least two inches wide, adjustable, and padded.
  • A backpack should have a padded back for added protection and comfort.
  • Evenly distribute contents and pack the heaviest items closest to the body.
  • Explore other backpack options such as a backpack with wheels and pull handles.
  • Backpacks should never exceed 15 per cent of a secondary school child`s body weight or 10 per cent of an elementary school child`s body weight.
  • Rolling backpack. This type of backpack may be a good choice for students who must tote a heavy load. Remember that rolling backpacks must be carried up stairs.

4 Steps to Safe Backpack Use

Below are helpful tips to insure you know how to safely use your backpack in order to promote spinal health.

Step 1: Choose Right.
Choosing the right size backpack is the most important step to safe backpack use.

Tip: Bring a friend to help you measure your backpack properly.

Step 2: Pack Right.
The maximum weight of the loaded backpack should not exceed 15 % of your body weight, so pack only what is needed.

Tip: If the backpack forces the wearer to move forward to carry, it's overloaded.

Step 3: Lift Right.
Face the Pack -Bend at the Knees - Use both hands and check the weight of the pack. - Lift with the legs - Apply one shoulder strap and then the other.

Tip: Don't sling the backpack onto one shoulder.

Step 4: Wear Right.
Use both shoulder straps - snug, but not too tight.

Tip: When the backpack has a waist strap - use it.


Osteoporosis Prevention Starts Early

What is Osteoporosis?

Kyphosis (Curvature of the Spine)

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