Reducing backpack stress - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Reducing backpack stress

by Natalie Sparacio

MARSFIELD (WAOW)-- Around 40 million kids tote around backpacks...and many of them complain of the pain they cause.

This weeks Living Well,  takes a look at ways to prevent the pain associated with backpacks.

According to the American Physical Therapy Association...more than 50 percent of children carry backpacks that are too heavy...which can lead to long term back, neck, and spine problems.

Back to school shopping almost always includes shopping for a backpack...but before you spend the time and money looking for one...you should know what to look for.

Bobbette Hickson, P.T., at the Marshfield Clinic says, "... well some of the things you should be looking for in a backpack are padded shoulders...something that's wide...but not  too wide that its off of the child's shoulders. You should look for a backpack with a waist belt that also helps distribute the weight...look for a padded back to the backpack...and reflective ones..,especially here in Wisconsin... it gets dark here fairly early, so that's a good reason to have reflection."

Once you have a backpack that's suitable for your child...it's important you know the best way to load it.

"...actually they should load the books closer to their back and then their folders... and their lighter objects further away. If they have different compartments...use the compartments by putting different things in the different compartments to help distribute the load."    

When the backpack is loaded...rather than swinging it from one shoulder to the other...the best way to put it on is to have the child stand up, and slide both arms through the shoulder straps at the same time.

This helps stabilize the core, and helps prevent injury.

Typically, kids should carry between 10-15 percent of their body weight. So, if a child is 60 pounds...their backpack should weigh no more than 6 pounds.

Living Well is produced in part and sponsored by Marshfield Clinic.

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