It’s back to school time and Tax Free weekend is here! I used to love school supply shopping. Actually the addiction to “office supplies” carried over even after school. It’s pretty bad. I can’t have enough pens, post-it notes and sharpies around. I always find reasons to need more. Before you head out to school supply and backpack shop we have some great tips from one of the top Neurological and Spine surgeons in the country to make sure you make a smart and safe choice for your child!
Gearing up for back to school can be a lot of stress but it can also be a pain in the back if you ignore the importance of looking for a proper backpack for your child. Dr. Rob Dickerman is a Neurological and Spine surgeon here in DFW and he has seen the effects backpacks can have on people later on in life and the damage it can cause to your spine. Dickerman says “The spine in a child is drastically different than an adults. Injuring a young child’s spine can lead to lifelong problems.”
Dr. Dickerman says the most important tip when selecting the right backpack for your school bound child regardless if it’s elementary, junior high, high school or even college is the backpack should be anatomically correct for the person, meaning not too big or too small. If the child cannot maintain their normal posture it’s either too heavy or it’s the wrong size.
Here are some easy tips from Dr. Dickerman to consider-
1. The backpack should never weigh more than 15% of the child’s body weight. In other words if you child weighs 50 lbs., the backpack should never weigh more than 7 1/2 lbs. If you child weighs 100 lbs., never more than 15 lbs. in the backpack.
2. Use BOTH straps. Even though one may be the trendy thing to do, it’s not safe and there isn’t balance in weight distribution.
3. Do not let the backpack hang too low. Base of backpacks should rest at the small of your back and no more than a few inches below the waist.
4. Put heavier items in the back, closest to the spine and body and lighter items towards the front. This helps control the weight and doesn’t create an opposing force with gravity and make the kid lean or strain forward to balance the backpack.
5. Waist straps are a PLUS! These help with weight distribution.
6. Roller packs are always the best idea and are becoming more popular and trendy.
Some features to look for when backpack shopping include adjustable straps, waist straps, backpacks with lumbar support and some even have inflatable pocks to support the lower back and balance.
Dr. Dickerman says “One size doesn’t fit all and remember to inspect before you invest.”
I did a little survey with Dr. Dickerman’s tips and was able to find all the important features available pretty much in every store I searched including discount stores at prices right around $15-$20.