When is the last time you lifted your child’s backpack? Did you notice that instead of moving with ease, it actually felt like a brick might be inside? Maybe you’ve even noticed your child have difficulty throwing it over their shoulder and onto their back. However you noticed it’s weight, it’s very obvious that kids today are carrying a heavy load with them when they go to school, and even around their campus.

Your concerns are valid and correct! Kids are putting tremendous strain on their backs each time they put a very heavy backpack on their shoulder or back. It may seem like the norm, each kid racing by with pounds of books on their backs. However, it shouldn’t be as accepted because it can cause serious problems for kids. Not only does it create and allow for poor posture, but children can really suffer from shoulder and back pain.

Although some are pushing for changes in legislature, we can start today by taking steps to prevent injury. The American Chiropractic Association suggests that a child’s backpack should not weigh more than 10% of their body weight. If a child is old enough for adult sized shoes, we suggest adding a pair of MEGAComfort insoles into their shoes.

We know what you’re thinking, “Kids and insoles? What?” Trust us, if you have a teenager or young adult carrying up 10% of their body weight on their back, they need real support. True back support, starts from the ground up. Protecting their feet, cushioning each step, and preventing slips, trips, and falls is why Podiatrist, Dr. Kevan Orvitz designed MEGAComfort insoles. Designed to reduce pain and fatigue with every step. Our insoles can make a tremendous difference to your child’s back, shoulder, and knee health.

If you have a younger child, that cannot wear insoles yet, we recommend trying out backpacks with wheels. Why not take the load completely off of their young developing backs? If they’re struggling to lift their backpack, don’t stress it…wheel it! If you’re considering a wheeling backpack, try to find one that isn’t bulky so it doesn’t get in the way of school corridors. You can always take it in for a cubby test if you want to be sure it’s the same size as a regular backpack.

In addition to the weight, don’t forget that their backpack should be constructed well. In the safety community, we talk a lot about ergonomics and it’s no different for your kids. Have a safety discussion, and purchase a backpack that has an ergonomic design, such as back support and padding through the straps and back of the backpack. Make sure their backpack has compression straps for stabilization and hip and chest belts for weight distribution.

Although a larger backpack may be tempting because it allows for more space, don’t forget that the more room there is to fill the more books will be added! Try not to select an oversized or extra large backpack.

If your child likes throwing their backpack to one side, it may feel comfortable momentarily. However, it’s does not help their back and can cause damage down the road. Make sure they are using both straps to ensure proper posture and back support.

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