“School can be a challenging time for some children, so ensuring they are as comfortable as possible is important for their physical and mental development,” – Dr Anthony Coxon, ACA President.
Every year thousands of children across the country return to school in January and it is important that every year parents look at the quality and fit of their child’s backpack.
‘Back to School’ is a health initiative by the Australian Chiropractors Association (ACA) that aims to raise awareness on the importance of spinal health in children as they grow and develop.
If you are worried about your child’s backpack weight, here are a few lifestyle and backpack modifications tips:
What to look for in a backpack
- Make sure the backpack is the right size for your child, no wider than their chest and no lower than the hollow of their back.
- A moulded frame on the back, that when adjusted fits their spine.
- A bag made from a light weight material like canvas, with two padded straps.
- Adjustable waist and sternum straps.
- Separate compartments that allow for easy packing and weight distribution.
How to carry the backpack in a ‘spine-safe’ way
- Ensure that the weight of the backpack is no more than 10% of your child’s weight when packed. Only pack essentials to lessen the load, perhaps use school lockers if available.
- Pack the heaviest items closest to the spine and make sure all zippers are done up all the way.
- Secure the sternum and waist straps (they’re there for a reason).
- Always wear both straps, tell the kids it’s not cool to ‘one-strap it’ anymore.
- Reduce the time spent wearing the backpack to no more than 30 minutes at any one time.
Back to School Resources
The ‘Chiropak’ is a durable, functional and comfortable backpack, developed by Spartan School Supplies and the ACA.
Sitting right in school while learning and playing is important. Visit Health Tips to help maintaining good posture.
Ensure your child is undertaking at least 60 minutes of moderate physical activity every day, as a part of correct spinal care.
Parents and children share their thoughts on school backpacks.
Straighten Up App
While your chiropractor can’t be there 24/7 correcting your posture, the Straighten Up app can! Designed to act as ‘Your Pocket Chiropractor’, this app aims to address the growing posture issues and back pain problems faced by Australians.