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As summer begins to wind down, parents swarm to their favorite local retailers to cash in on back to school deals, schedule last-minute appointments, and console their kids as they lament imminent academic rigor among other things. One of these laments, however, should be taken seriously. We’re talking about your child complaining of back pain related to lugging books around all day. According to the Consumer Product Safety Administration there are 40,000 backpack-related injuries and 5,000 emergency room visits every year. So with that in mind, we want to relay some backpack safety tips that’ll help your kid focus on arithmetic and not aches. If they do have aches, however, you may want to consider chiropractic care for kids.

The first step is always choosing the right backpack. Look for a backpack that has some padding on both the back and shoulder straps. The backpack should also never be wider or longer than your child’s torso. A waist or chest belt can also help transfer weight to the hips and torso area. As for rolling backpacks, the American Chiropractic Association says, “rolling backpacks should only be used by those not physically able to carry a back pack” because they only replace the back injury hazard with a tripping hazard.

The next area of attention should be how to correctly wear a backpack. Be sure both straps are adjusted evenly and bring the load close to the back, but be careful not to wear it too high or too low. That will help ensure better weight distribution and reduce bounce.

Lastly, how you organize things can have a tremendous effect on how the backpack functions. Be sure to place the heaviest items low and near the center of the bag, and utilize the smaller compartment for smaller items to help distribute weight. Helping your kid clean out their backpack once per week can also reduce the amount of unnecessary weight that’s carried. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons also recommends that your child’s backpack never exceeds 10 to 15 percent of their body weight.

While not every kid will end up in the emergency room, overweight loads and improper adjustment could cause regular shoulder, back, and neck pain.

What are your thoughts, people? Do you see kids struggling to carry their books? Let us know in the comments below!

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