Observe Your Child's Spine
Heavy packs may cause kids to change their spinal position to accommodate the load. This can result in back pain, and at worst, the possibility of temporarily compressed discs and posture problems. Studies show that backpack wearers tend to begin adapting their posture once the weight of the pack reaches about 26 lbs. At an estimated 20% of the child’s weight, a backpack load may even begin to interfere with breathing. So observe your child's spine when it's on and adjust the load according to the other tips on this post.
Most kids carry between 10% and 22% of their body weight in their back packs. As the weight of the backpack increases, so may the degree of disc compression. I recommended a backpack’s load to be no more than 10% of the child’s weight.
Carry Only What Is Necessary
Help your child manage the amount of heavy items carried in his/her pack. Encourage storing books at a locker and switch books out frequently.
Organize The Backpack Properly
When you carry anything out away from your body, it takes more effort, and places stress on your joints and muscles. A good strategy is to put the heaviest items on the inside of the pack, closest to your back. Carry the little things, like calculators, pens and loose paper toward the outside.
Get a Backpack With Padded Shoulder Straps
Many people complain about neck and shoulder pain when they wear a heavy backpack. Padded shoulder straps may be just the feature you’re looking for! The padded shoulder straps are generally wider than the more basic type, and may help even out the distribution of the pack's weight. This, along with the cushioning provided by the padding, may help to avoid pinching of the trapezius muscle so common with the basic type of strap.
Use Both Straps When You Wear a Backpack
Whether it’s fashion or convenience that propels your child to sling his pack over one shoulder, know that such a practice can contribute to the development of poor posture habits. It can also cause pain on the side of the body that has to take the weight of the entire pack.
Center the Backpack Load
Studies show that loads of 18 lbs or more may create a temporary side-to-side curve in the spine. You can help your child by placing items so there is equal weight on either side of the pack.
Tighten the Straps of the Backpack
One thing that can make backpacks seem heavier and more cumbersome than they are is to wear them with loose shoulder straps. Loose straps causes the pack to move around as you move. This may cause muscles to work harder than usual. By cinching the straps to fit your frame, you secure the pack.
Ask Your Child if They Have Back Pain
Encourage your kid to tell you about his/her aches and pains. Most of the time, the pain will be attributed to the pack. But there is the chance that the back pain is a symptom of an underlying condition or disease. Back pain during childhood increases the risk for back pain during adulthood. If adjusting the weight (and its distribution) of the pack and counseling your child on managing the load during the day doesn’t alleviate their back pain, see a doctor.