Dora the Explorer’s backpack could sing and tell us what was inside itself (though we would always have to find it ourselves), but in reality, if our young students are not well educated as to how much and what should be in their backpack, then there is cause for health concern. One could attribute this problem to a child thinking a backpack can hold as much as its volume allows, which they will then deposit everything and the kitchen sink into it to take around with them.
The right backpack is the backpack that allows a child to transport their cannon of tomes at ease without risk to their health. The health concern concerning, to prevent pain and maintain the current condition of their back. Let’s do some math. The average high school student has 5-7 classes per day. Each textbook per class that our kids are issued can weigh, on average, 1-3 pounds. There are five school days, and two times a day a kid commutes between the home and the classroom, maybe more if they go to a friend’s house. Let’s sub in an underestimate for the commute time (in my opinion) 20 min. That means that for an underestimated average of three and a half hours per week a child exerts thirteen pounds of pressure on their back if they are scholarly valiant enough to study their textbooks at home and school. Web M.D. has posted a chart with ratios of student weight to how heavy their back pack load should be:
Child’s Weight to Backpack Weight
50 pounds 5 pounds
75 pounds 7.5 pounds
100 pounds 10 pounds
125 pounds 12.5 pounds
150 pounds 15 pounds
The math calculated prior for an average time and weight of a typical high school student’s backpack and time spent a week carrying it concludes that for an average weight of one-hundred pounds, a child maybe carrying 2-4 pounds extra than they should be. That is why methods of back pain prevention can be very important for our young scholars. Our calculations seem plausible, but are there really any extreme repercussions that could be detrimental to a healthy back? As a matter of fact, there are, and they can be severe. A developing back needs to be kept in good shape because it may affect a child’s future in their work, family life, social life and susceptibility to other health problems that stem from back pain. Even though there are not too many alternatives to wearing a backpack, we might want to ask ourselves, “Which backpack is best?” The answers lie in a couple different areas of what style backpack one can buy and how one uses a back pack.
The style of backpack that is best is a style that can equally distribute the load’s weight on both shoulders. The two sling backpack is the most optimal in aiding back pain prevention. Also it would be good prevention to make sure that the slings are wide enough (another weight distribution issue) and have good padding so they don’t dig into a child’s shoulders. If you can’t find a suitable backpack in that style try taking it off the shoulders and onto the street with a backpack on wheels that a child can push or pull along. Suffice it to say, some schools don’t allow the use of wheeled backpacks so it would be a good idea to check with your school first. The sources that I researched unanimously condemned the single sling backpacks that one wears across the chest. This backpack pulls unevenly on one of the shoulders and will cause back, neck and shoulder pain. As far as style is concerned, a good rule of thumb (or in this case, back) is to stick to what is comfortable and symmetrical.
Also how one places items into the backpack can be instrumental in curing back pain. If the backpack has many pockets, making sure that you have evenly weighted items in each pocket can be beneficial. Perhaps putting in heavier books in at the base of the backpack will provide a solid foundation to place other items on top so we can use the backpack as health-efficiently as possible. This measure is to avoid making the backpack either too bottom or top-heavy. Taking proper precaution against potential back pain in addition to modifying your backpack can also be achieved with keeping certain exercise habits. Having kids stretch out before they leave for school will help reduce the amount of strain on their back. Rolling back and forth on your back on a comfortable yoga mat can be a good way to loosen up. Another fun exercise for a kid might be the Superman stretch where one lies on his or her belly and stretches their arms and legs outward like Superman flying in the sky. By keeping these types of exercise practices up regularly one can certainly reduce strain from an overstuffed backpack. Young generation’s lifestyles are growing increasingly more sedentary with the advancement of convenience in technology so it is important to anticipate health concerns early. When it comes to back pain, choosing the appropriate style, the two sling style, with proper padding is the first step to ensure less strain. Having a strategic placing of your backpack items is important to make sure the weight is evenly distributed inside the pack. With the addition of proper exercise and stretching to reduce strain on back muscles a child will be prepared to combat any unnecessary strain on their developing back. Heeding these prevention tactics will keep the price of our kid’s education to just tuition.