A: There are many different kinds of backpacks out there. Here is a list of some things to keep in mind when purchasing your child’s backpack for the school year:
• Select the right size. The size of the backpack should be no bigger than the size of the child’s back. The backpack height should be from the top of the child’s shoulders down to the waist and span to the shoulder blades (give or take two inches).
• Keep in mind the weight of the backpack. Choose something that is lightweight and has two or three compartments to equally distribute the weight of the books and school supplies. It is recommended that the child does not carry more than 15 percent of his or her bodyweight in the backpack. So if your child weighs 80 pounds, the backpack and its contents should not exceed 12 pounds. If the child is leaning forward when wearing the backpack, then it is too heavy.
• Straps, straps, straps. Choose a backpack with two padded straps that are 2 inches in width. Avoid one-shoulder bags. Also, select a backpack with a chest and waist strap for added support.
Maintaining proper posture at school and when carrying the backpack is essential to good spinal hygiene. If your child has poor posture or complains of back pain, or if you want to take preventative measures to ensure good spinal health, get your child’s spine checked by a chiropractor.
Information provided by Nicole Olson, DC, CACCP, Olson Chiropractic Health Center, 1510 S.W. Oralabor Road, Suite B, Ankeny, 289-1015.