Take a load off your child's shoulders - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Take a load off your child's shoulders

By Heather Sawaski

WAUSAU (WAOW) -- Another school year is right around the corner. Soon kids will put on their new clothes, grab their backpacks, and head out to catch the bus. But what they put in those packs could cause problems.

Amy Zoromski and her daughter spend Tuesday morning shopping for school supplies. The check list includes matching notebooks and folders. The mother of two says her girls already have backpacks. And sometimes, she has to monitor what goes in them.

"Sometimes my younger one puts more than she needs in there so maybe I have to weed out every once and awhile for her," Zoromski explained. 

Experts agree. Lightening the load on your child's back is also weight off parents shoulders.

Physical Therapist Jim Bjork says heavy backpacks can lead to lower back problems, muscle strains, and slipped discs.

"What's going to happen is you're going to have a lot of shoulder strain," Bjork said. "But also from back posture, the posture is going to go with the weight. So as you're walking down the hall or walking home with the backpack, you're posture is really mal aligned at that point."

He says to keep your kid safe in the hallways, make sure they're using both straps, not just one. Keep the weight in compartments closest to their back. And a good rule of thumb, the pack shouldn't weigh more than 15% of the child's body weight. That means an 80 pound student should never be lugging around more 12 pounds on their back.

They're simple steps for parents, like Amy Zoromski, that'll help take a load off their kids this school year.

Bjork also recommends packs with wheels, if they're allowed in your child's school. Some schools do have a ban on them because of tripping hazards for other students.

Online Reporter: Heather Sawaski

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