It feels like summer is just heating up. School is the farthest thing from my mind, but my wife, being the organized one, has brought home two new backpacks, all ready for the upcoming school year. That’s when I came to the realization that the kids start school in just a few weeks, and if you haven’t done so already, you have to start thinking about backpacks.
This year we bought two backpacks from Beckman of Norway for my 6yo and 9yo. These bags are recommended by the Canadian Chiropractic Association. I will describe these in a moment, but first here are 8 backpack tips to always remember.
1: Only pack what you need.
Put everything out in front of you, remove the extras and pack only the essentials.
2: Load it Evenly.
If you have more to the left or right, then your child will feel off balance. Place the heaviest item on the innermost part of the bag.
3: Make sure it’s the right weight
10-15% of the body weight is acceptable. For my kids, that usually means about 5 lbs. If you don’t have a luggage scale, you may be able measure by difference, by weighing your child both with and without the bag and calculating the difference.
4: Make sure the straps are tightened
Backpacks have adjustable shoulder straps, and most have chest straps and waist straps. Make sure the bag is resting in the contour of the back.
5: Ask if it is comfortable.
Adjust it and ask your child if it is comfortable. They are the ultimate feedback. If they do not find it comfortable, or think there is something wrong, there probably is something wrong. Also, if it’s uncomfortable, they will not use it correctly.
6: Monitor their comfort regularly
Monitor their comfort throughout the year. Straps can become longer and shorter, mistakenly adjusted, and don’t assume it is remaining perfect for the whole year. Also empty it out, and make sure forgotten items aren’t weighting your child down.
7: Lift with the legs when picking it up.
Keep the feet flat and bend at the knees with the torso upright. If you or your child has stiff ankles or hips, you may have trouble doing this, and you may need to have it addressed by a professional. Remember kids copy their parents, so if you want them to lift correctly, do it yourself as well.
8: Always wear both straps.
Carrying a bag with one strap promotes uneven posture, and their spinal adjustments will not last as long.
This year we bought two backpacks from Beckmann of Norway. These bags are recommended by the Canadian Chiropractic Association. Many of them have a frame that is shaped like the back, and the bag can be adjusted to raise the load above the hips for more comfort. They have a reflective material for safety and they have these cool interchangeable patches that the kids love.
These backpacks are a bit of an investment but they are an important piece of equipment that you child will use for at least the whole year, so it is worth considering since it can benefit their health.