If at home - setup of our school office and home office ergonomics are key! This has been addressed by Alex in her blog here!
But, if kids are heading back to the classroom, and likely required to be carrying their supplies back and forth each day, the backpack is becoming a very important tool of the day. Let's not forget the homework. The projects. Library books (possibly). Backpacks are the easiest way to haul all the craft projects and intriguing reads home. It is not uncommon for us to see neck discomfort, shoulder issues and back pain with overloaded backpacks!
But, how can you protect your child, (or let's be honest, even yourself with what you may be hauling around town), from unnecessary aches and pains.
1. Choose a backpack with wide straps - and ensure they are padded! Also, have a padded back to increase the overall comfort! You can protect the neck, back and shoulder from unnecessary strain, that a single strap or thin strap can create.
2. Distribute the weight! Waist belts and multiple compartments allow for loads to be distributed more evenly. Also ensure that heavier items are closer to the back.
3. Keep the load light! The backpack should weigh no more than 15% of your child's body weight.
4. Ensure a proper fit! A backpack should never hang away from the body. Make sure the pack is fitting snug to the body, by tightening the straps on the backpack. The backpack should rest evenly across the back.
5. Keep organized! If you notice your child, or yourself is struggling with a heavy backpack, encourage your child to leave items at school in their desk or locker that they do not need on a daily basis.
6. Keep active! Keeping your child and yourself active, on a daily basis, keeps the muscles ready and available to meet the demands of the day. This can help eliminate unnecessary strain.
This is just a few quick tips regarding how to keep you and your child feeling less strain while hauling the days needs on your back. As always, if there are any questions, drop us a line - we are always wanting to make sure you are feeling confident with what is best for you!
~ Michelle, PT