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Research has shown an increasing number of reports of back pain in children, which is believed to be due – at least in part – to the improper use of backpacks. The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that 4,928 emergency room visits each year result from injuries related to book bags and back carriers!

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Here are some tips to help prevent injuries in your children:

1. Look for a backpack that has wide, cushioned straps that help distribute weight on the shoulders evenly. The backpack should also have a waist strap to help stabilize the load by not allowing the pack to move around.

2. Make sure the backpack fits properly so that the straps are not so tight that the pack goes above the collar line or is wider than the shoulders, but also is not so loose as to hang more than four inches below the belt line.

3. Be sure that the weight of your child’s backpack is no more than fifteen percent of your child’s body weight.

4. Have your kids pack the heaviest objects first so they are carried lower and closer to the body. Eliminate any unnecessary items from the backpack.

5. When putting the backpack on, your child should bend at the knees and make sure to lift the pack with the legs, not the back, putting one strap on at a time.

6. Avoid wearing the backpack over only one shoulder or using messenger-style bags which get slung over one shoulder and cause improper weight distribution.

If a heavy backpack has already caused back pain, pediatric chiropractic and massage can correct the cause of the pain safely and effectively as well as prevent improper skeletal growth from poor posture.

 Here’s to another great school year for your children!