Most kids carry around backpacks throughout the day for most of the year. That means that it’s important to pay attention to how they wear them. Wearing it the wrong way can lead to shoulder and back pain that may be temporary or can lead to long-term issues. It’s never too early to start developing good habits, so teach your children the right way to wear backpacks. Here are some tips to help you out.
1. Make sure that the backpack fits properly
One of the most important things to remember about wearing a backpack is that it must fit properly. First, make sure that your kids wear both shoulder straps – not just one – and adjust the straps so that they are comfortable, and the backpack sits high on their back. The bag should be snug enough not to sway back and forth as they walk. Be sure to adjust the straps to fit correctly with clothes of different thicknesses. Also, if there is a chest or waist strap, your kids should use it because it helps distribute weight evenly and safely.
2. Avoid using only one strap
A popular way of wearing backpacks is also a potentially harmful one. Slinging packs over one shoulder is a comfortable and stylish method of carrying the bag, but there are several problems with this position. The main issue is that it puts all the weight on just one shoulder and makes it impossible to walk with good posture. Even if your kids switch back and forth between shoulders, they are still walking off-balance; putting unnecessary strain on their muscles and bones.
3. Avoid wearing the backpack low on the back
When kids wear their backpacks slung low on their backs, they increase the pressure on their shoulders, which can lead to pain in the joints or lower back. Often, when backpacks are too low, it’s because the straps are too loose – usually to accommodate jackets, sweaters, and other thick, warm clothing. That’s why it’s important to adjust the backpack to fit different outfits.
4. Follow specific guidelines for children and backpacks
Make sure that your children aren’t carrying more than 10 to 20 percent of their body weight in their backpacks. If you can’t lighten the load enough, consider purchasing a rolling bag. Kids and adults should follow the same guidelines for fitting and wearing their backpacks, using both straps, adjusting for a snug fit over different clothing, and using the waist or chest strap. Also, make sure that your child’s backpack has wide, padded straps for even, comfortable weight distribution.
5. Have your children break in their backpacks
Before the school year starts (or before you leave for your hiking trip), have your kids wear their backpacks around the house or on walks, adjusting as necessary for the proper fit. Help them learn how to load their packs, placing softer items against their backs and harder items or items with corners on sides or away from the body. A good backpack should last a very long time, so it pays to make sure that its comfortable and won’t cause back neck, or shoulder issues over time.