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Posted on 08-22-2017

Mississauga Chiropractor Shares: How To Find the Best Backpack for School

backpack tips, best backpack for school, what to look for in a backpack

With back-to-school just around the corner, I thought I'd share my tips on what to look for when shopping for a backpack. I see a lot of kids/teens with poor posture as a chiropractor in Mississauga. Technology has a lot to do with it but so do backpacks! Improper backpack use can lead to poor posture alignment which can negatively impact a child’s health in the short and long term. (Read my previous post on the Dangers of Hunching for more info.)

So why not help your child prevent poor posture while their posture alignment is still forming rather than try to correct it later?

Here are some tips to find the best backpack for school from a health perspective:  

Sizing the backpack

Generally speaking, you want the length of the backpack to run from the top of your shoulder blades to the top of your hip bones. You can easily do this by measuring this distance with a tape measure, then find the backpacks with the same length. Keep in mind if your child is in a growth stage (which is most likely the case), you may want to purchase a size 1-2 inches longer.

Important Backpack Features

Once you’ve found the right size, here are a list of features you’ll want to consider in order of most important to least:

  1. Hip/waist strap with buckle - this is a MUST-have to ensure most of the backpack weight is over your hip bones.

  2. Wide padded shoulder straps - another must-have to distribute pressure over shoulders.

  3. Chest/sternum strap with buckle - helps keep shoulder straps in place.

  4. Padded back on the inside - makes carrying the backpack more comfortable.

  5. Air vents on the inside - helps keep back cool during hot days.

Adjust for fit

Adjust the waist strap first for a snug fit (should be sitting on top of your hip/pelvic bones), then adjust shoulder straps. Shoulder straps should be wrapped tightly around shoulders, but not so tight that your shoulders end up carry most of the weight. You may not notice this at first, but if after a few minutes of carrying a loaded backpack you may notice tightness and tension across the shoulders and neck muscles. If this is the case, slightly loosen the shoulder straps and tighten the hip straps a bit. Lastly adjust chest strap ensuring that it’s snug, but not too tight that it restricts breathing.

Your legs are the strongest parts of your body so in the end the goal of adjusting your backpack is to ensure most of the weight is resting on your hips or waist.

Additional Tips

  • In addition to find the right backpack, how you pack your bag is important too. Make sure to keep the heaviest items closest to your body and near the bottom.

  • As a rule of thumb, a child’s backpack should not weigh more than 15% of the child’s weight.

  • Bring some text books or weights adding up to 15% of you or your child's weight to the store or call the store ahead of time to see if they have weights there. Place weights into backpack and walk around store for 15 minutes, adjusting straps throughout trial to ensure you have the right backpack.

If you have any questions or would like your child/teenager to have their posture and spine checked, call us at Health & Healing Family Chiropractic for a free consultation @ (905)916-4325. We would be honoured to serve you!

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