Dr. Jessica Lee – Hong Kong Chiropractor

Information and Thoughts about Chiropractic, Health, and the Human Body.

Are Backpacks Harming Your Child?

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When was the last time you weighed your child’s backpack? If the backpack is 15% or more of your child’s body weight, they have an increased chance of experiencing neck and back pain due to backpack induced poor posture.  If your child feels a need to lean forward while carrying the backpack, it is a sign that the bag is too heavy.  Many Hong Kong parents are very concerned about how heavy backpacks are affecting their child’s health; here are some tips!

Backpack Shopping Tips:

  1. Is the bag made of lightweight material?
  2. Does the bag have a padded back?
  3. Are there individualized compartments to separate items?
  4. Are there two padded, wide, adjustable shoulder straps?
  5. Is there a waist belt to redistribute the weight of the backpack?
  6. If your child often needs to carry a heavy backpack, have you considered a rolling backpack?

(All of these answers should be “yes”)

Backpack Habits:

  1. Is your child using both shoulder straps?
  2. Is your child’s posture straight with the backpack or are they leaning forward while walking?
  3. Are the heaviest objects packed in first so they are lower and closer to the body?
  4. Is your child only carrying what is needed and leaving unnecessary items at home or at school?
  5. Does your child clean out their backpack at least once a week?
  6. Is the backpack within 10-15% of your child’s body weight?
  7. Does your child lift the backpack using their leg muscles rather than their back?
  8. Are the straps adjusted so that the backpack fits snugly to your child’s body?
  9. Is the bottom of the backpack approximately 2 inches above the waist, and the top of the backpack just below the base of the skull?

(All of these answers should be “yes”)

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Tips for Parents:

  • Observe if your child has difficulty putting on and taking off their backpack.
  • If the backpack is too heavy for your child, remove some items from the bag and have your child hug them in front of their body
  • Communicate with your child regularly regarding any neck pain, back pain, or numbness and tingling in their arms and legs
  • If your child or teenager reports neck or back pain, take them to a chiropractor immediately
  • Choose the smallest and lightest backpack that will suit your child’s needs
  • If your child experiences discomfort carrying their backpack, reduce the weight right away

Chiropractors are health professionals that can provide further advice regarding proper postures in young people to improve their spinal health and avoid future injury.  If your child has pain from backpack use, or you notice them developing a hunchback or forward head posture, it is time to consult your family chiropractor.  The sooner these issues are dealt with, the less problems they will lead to in the future.  Kids need a healthy spine for a healthy life!

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One thought on “Are Backpacks Harming Your Child?

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