PT Brian Wienk explains how the backpack should sit on your back.
If your student is complaining about carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders, you should listen to them. We got a lesson in proper backpack wearing from Physical Therapist Brian Wienk from the Orthopedic Institute. Wienk says, "Put the heavy items toward the front of the backpack because that will help keep the weight closer to the body. If it has pockets that's good too for little items and that will help distribute the weight as well."
Wienk says the wide padded contoured straps on the backpack Timothy Farris is wearing are something you should look for when picking out a backpack. Also watch how your child walks with it on. He says, "Notice if they lean forward with the head tilted ahead of the shoulders. That tells us maybe it's a little too heavy and over time they could develop problems," He adds.
Make sure the backpack isn't too low on your child's back. It should be positioned over the strongest mid-back muscles and should be worn with both straps. Your spine could get out of line when you carry a lot of books over just one shoulder. You should also watch the amount of weight you are carrying in the bag.
Brian Wienk says, "It really is abnormal for a child to develop pain of any sort so it's best to see a doctor to find out the source. It could be muscle or joint related. A good rule of thumb is 10-15% of the child's weight. If the child weighs 100 pounds you are looking at no more than 10 to 15 pounds in the backpack."
And the flimsy bags with narrow straps should only be used for light weight stuff.. like gym clothes or swim suits. Most of all, the experts say listen to your child. If they are complaining about neck, shoulder, lower back pain or numbness into the arm then more than likely there's a problem.