The Importance of a Properly Fit Backpack ~ By Dr. Kim Anderson, D.C.

July 30, 2014

Posted By: Shaunescy

1.    Does your child carry his/her backpack properly?

2.    Does your child’s backpack weigh too much?

3.    Do you know these answers?

I remember years ago, before I became a mother, the first time I became concerned about backpack weight and kids. I had elementary aged nieces and nephews at the time who came walking through the door after school one day and I was absolutely shocked at what I saw! They were all wearing these huge Disney themed backpacks on their tiny frames and they all had the packs loaded down! Wow! Things had certainly changed a lot from when I was in school.

Why is posture so important for good health? Because posture is a reflection of how your child is growing. A healthy posture usually reflects a healthy child and later in life a healthier adult. A poor posture can also reflect early signs of scoliosis. Remember that a child’s developing spine can be affected by outside forces; including an overweight backpack. All healthcare professional agree that a backpack should never weigh more than 15% of a child’s bodyweight. How a child wears the backpack is important in determining how their body will be affected by extra weight.

Here are a few tips:

1.    Always use both shoulder straps

2.    Always use waist belt and/or chest straps

3.    Bottom of backpack should rest 2” above waist in small of back

4.    Do not let a backpack hang loosely because it can pull child backwards and strain muscles

5.    Never weighs more than 15% of child’s bodyweight.

It is the attention to these “small things” that can make a big difference. I have been around parents who down play the significance of correctly fitting a child to their backpacks, but after seeing the consequences of poor choices during youth it becomes very apparent the little things now will become big things later. We all understand that properly inflated tires give us better gas mileage, but we also know that it can increase tread life by over 50%. So yes just a little more air pressure may not be a big deal at the time, but not doing it becomes a “big deal over time.”

In August our office will be providing a free community service to evaluate posture and backpacks to elementary aged children in the Gallatin Valley. For more information please visit us online at or call our office @ 522-5433.!

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