As recently as the 2000s, pediatricians were beginning to notice an increase in students presenting with muscle pain in the shoulders and lower back. It didn’t take long before orthopedic surgeons began to figure out that the phenomenon was caused by the strain of heavy backpacks.
Students carry around numerous weighted textbooks, binders, and notebooks for five days out of the week—of course by the time the weekend rolls around, they’ll be feeling stiff and out of sorts.
Fortunately, there is a solution to this very common problem and parents are increasingly choosing to include ergonomic backpacks on their checklist of back to school supplies.
Today’s parents are taking great care to research backpacks and ensure they not only fit properly but are sensitive to the unique needs of young people, whose cartilage is more susceptible to strain and injury. So, where can you buy your kids a healthy backpack that won’t leave them with potentially debilitating muscle pain?
Weigh your child beforehand.
The size and type of backpack are unimportant until you know your child’s current weight since experts claim that no more than 15% of a child’s body weight should be lugged along with them in their backpack.
Take your son or daughter for their annual summer checkup. It’ll be worth the groans and complaints when they receive an accurate weigh-in. Once you have, you can begin researching online for the backpacks within your budget.
Make the experience fun.
Let your son or daughter be involved in the process. Their tech-savvy brains might actually come in handy for once—what if they find something online for cheaper than retail price?
What’s more, kids typically enjoy back to school shopping. The fun of picking out a stylish and durable new backpack lasts long after the final bell has rung, as plenty of adults recall from their own school days. Whether you click “add to cart” or physically head to the store, you’ll be able to bond with your child in a new way.
Don’t disregard important features.
Messenger bags might be chic, but they’re not likely to keep your kids’ shoulders free of pain throughout the school year. Wide, padded straps are recommended, as they’re the most comfortable. Biomedical engineers specifically design ergonomic backpacks with this in mind. However, physicians advise that parents should also keep an eye out for a new and equally important feature: the hip belt, which attaches at the sternum area and encourages better posture over time. If your middle schooler is starting to slouch, you might notice a change in his or her gait by the time spring semester comes around.