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Natural Awakenings Space & Treasure Coast Florida

Is Your Child’s Backpack Making the Grade?

Apr 04, 2011 12:30PM ● By Daniel Weber

Fact: Every year more than 13,000 backpack related office or emergency room visits in the United States occur with school age children.

Fact: In the past four years there have been more than twenty documented studies showing that improperly worn backpacks may cause long term damage to a growing spine.

It is important for a child’s spine to develop properly while they are young. This means taking precautions when playing sports, lifting objects, and carrying a backpack. Most people don’t realize how crucial it is for a growing school age child to wear his or her backpack properly.

So how do you know what your kids should and shouldn’t be doing with their backpacks? Here are some dos and don’ts for children to follow:

* Your child’s straps should be tight and even on both sides so that their backpack sits level on their shoulders. Straps that are too loose cause the child to lean forward and walk hunched over. A loose backpack can also distort the natural curves in the middle and lower back, causing muscle strain and irritation to the spine joints and the rib cage and cause rounding of the shoulders.

* If your child’s backpack is bigger than your child, you should probably get them a smaller backpack. Children should carry no more than 15%-20% of their body weight in their backpack. A backpack that weighs more than about 20 pounds is too heavy.

* Your child’s backpack should be worn on both shoulders to distribute the weight evenly. Wearing a backpack on only one shoulder can cause pain and discomfort in several areas of the back and neck. If your child’s school allows it, the best kind of backpack for kids is a backpack that rolls because there is no pressure on the child’s back.

In addition to wearing a backpack properly, it is also important for children to get regular adjustments at the chiropractor. Getting regular adjustments for your child keeps their spine aligned, which in turn increases the proper functioning of all organs.

Dr. Daniel Weber owns The Joint, a chiropractic place located at 3016 Lake Washington Rd in Melbourne. Each visit is only $20 and no appointment is necessary. For more information call 321-254-2828 or visit www.thejoint.com.

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