It’s that time again—the day a lot of parents have been anticipating for months. Back-to-school time.
You’ve done a lot to prepare your kids for the upcoming year. You’ve purchased new clothes and diligently checked off all of the items on that ever-growing supply list. As you send your kids back to school to learn reading, writing and arithmetic, it’s important to also teach them the skills to protect their health, and this includes their back health.
The school year naturally produces a more sedentary existence for your children, and sitting for long periods of time can actually be harmful to the lower back. There is more pressure in your lower spine when you are sitting than standing or lying down. Also, kids tend to slump their lower back (round it out or decrease the natural inward curve) when they are sitting. This is very stressful to the muscles as well as the joints.
Back-to-school also means backpacks, and when backpacks are the wrong size, carried improperly or overloaded with books and that ever-growing supply list you purchased, the everyday activity can cause back pain and injury.
Combat these issues in your kids early, before the back injuries begin.
Make sure your child utilizes every chance they can to stand during the day, and even stretching or bending whenever possible. When they are home, try using a lumbar support , or even a rolled towel behind the back, in order to teach proper posture. Habits can be changed and it is well worth the time and effort.
And, when choosing a backpack for your child, make sure you are choosing the right size and fit. Backpacks should never weigh more than 15% of your child’s total weight. So, a 100 pound child should never carry more than 15 pounds on his back. And, the weight of the backpack should be evenly distributed. This means that the straps should be on both shoulders, regardless of the latest trend in carrying. Lastly, the top of the backpack should be approximately 2 inches below the shoulder blades and should stop at about the waist.
Back injuries don’t usually happen overnight. They are an accumulation of aggravations and abuses from lifetime habits that add up over the years. So it’s important to get your kids on the right path to proper back health now, before the habits are unbreakable.