Backpack injuries caused by heavy backpacks and improper weight distribution are no longer just a “nerd thing”. Kids today are carrying heavier backpacks than ever, with many routinely walking around with a bag full of heavy books, gadgets, and perhaps even a laptop. Unfortunately, kids don’t always understand the long-term repercussions of lugging around too much stuff. As a parent or teacher, it’s up to you to help prevent backpack injuries.
Even though it’s ultimately up to kids to follow through, there are several great ways to minimize the changes of backpack injuries. Below, we’ve covered several different approaches you can try.
Encourage the Use of Both Straps
It makes sense that you’d rather carry the weight on both shoulders rather than just one. Even though it may be trendy to carry a backpack on just one shoulder, it’s not healthy. Let your child or teen know of the potential for back injuries. If you have an image-conscious teen, you could even go so far as to joke about how, on college campuses, you can always spot the freshmen because they’re the only ones silly enough to still carry their backpacks on one shoulder. That kind of appeal to their desire to be older and more mature than their peers might stand a better chance of working than talking about spinal alignment or potential back pain when they’re in their 40s.
Consider a Rolling Backpack
Okay, we’ll admit that your chances of getting a typical teenager to use a rolling backpack are pretty slim. After all, that’s what teachers often use when they’re going back and forth between classes. Not cool! However, rolling backpacks can be great for younger kids who enjoy the novelty of it. Plenty of brands carry colorful styles your child will love.
Carry Less Stuff
Although it’s true that you can’t always control how many books your kids have to carry home from school, you can ensure that they don’t carry excess weight in the form of laptop computers, toys, and unnecessary gadgets. The upside is that you’ll also have less risk of loss or theft of your child or teen’s prized possessions.
Get an Airbak
If you can’t reduce your child’s load, you can help him carry it more efficiently. Although they look just like any other backpacks, Airbak backpacks use a unique air bladder technology to shift the distribution of the weight and ease the burden on the wearer’s neck, shoulders, and spine. If you can’t find ergonomic backpacks like Airbak in your area, you can also minimize strain by seeking out models with heavily padded straps and styles that strap around the waist to help stabilize the weight and keep it close to the body.
Choose Bags With Multiple Compartments
Older backpacks featured just one main compartment and one small compartment near the bottom of the front. Although it’s a classic design, it’s also one that keeps all the weight near the bottom and farther from the back. Instead, try styles that offer book straps inside, or additional compartments to better distribute weight and keep heavy items near the back.
It’s a shame that so many children will grow up with chronic back problems as a result of heavy backpacks. With a bit of thought and some careful planning, though, you can ensure that your child doesn’t suffer the same fate as so many others.