As a kid, I always loved “Back to School” preparations; shopping for new clothes, selecting the MEAD organizer that best reflected my view of the world (Charlie’s Angels Farrah era not Drew, or maybe the Pittsburgh Steelers) and of course, buying that new book bag (yes, we had book bags when I was a kid) to carry around my new stuff. Times were simpler (cue the nostalgic music) and little if any thought was given to Ergonomics, Repetitive Strain Injuries and the like. Naive? Uninformed? Perhaps.
Times have changed. Computers. Wireless. MP3s. Gaming. The list of technologies goes on and on. You would think this shift to ‘virtual’ content results in kids carrying less to and from school. Not the case.
Add up all the items you find in a backpack today, and you’ll easily find 25 to 40 lbs of weight. The Congress of Chiropractic State Associations, or COCSA, recommends that you carry no more than 10 to 15% of your body weight in your backpack. With kids, ERGOLAB recommends the 10% factor as your target. Consider this, the average American sixth grader weighs in at approx 80 lbs (+/- 10%) – that means that a sixth grader should have NO MORE than 8 to 12 pounds. Studies have shown our kids are lugging backpacks around that weigh well beyond this threshold. This increases the likelihood of pain, discomfort and even injury in shoulders, backs, and necks.
Given this reality, several client have asked us to recommend a back pack for their kids; with so many products on the market and EVERYONE claiming Ergonomic supremacy..it’s hard to know what to purchase. Our ERGOLAB team recommends the AirPack® backpack by AirPack Systems. http://www.airpacks.com/
At its core, AIRPACK is about proper weight distribution; typical body posture when carrying a heavy backpack involves slouching forward. You instinctively attempt to counterbalance the weight on your neck and upper back. The patented AIRPACKS system of air-filled bladders in the shoulder straps and lumbar support shift the load to the right place – your lower back and hips. An AirPack backpack improves the overall biomechanics of the spine, reducing the stress on the body by 80% and lightening the effective load by 50%. So the wearer actually FEELS BETTER.
Parents, the right backpack alone will not address this issue.
Some additional tips:
- Take time to ensure the backpack is properly fitted to your child. They’ll need some instruction. Check back often.
- Monitor what your kids are carrying; the weight of school essentials already pushes the threshold. Make sure the only carry what is absolutely needed that day.
- Get involved at your school. If your child is lugging around too much weight AFTER you have weeded out the non-essential items – talk to school officials. The PTO is also a great place to surface this issue.
- Get your kids MOVING! Exercise increases muscle strength and tone; active kids build a stronger core and are less susceptible to injury.
Any additional thoughts? If you have any suggestions or a solution that has worked for your child – please share.
As always, we are available via phone or email – 401-527-7047 or firstname.lastname@example.org