August 29, 2017 1:14 pm
Updated: August 29, 2017 1:28 pm

B.C. Chiropractors: Is your child’s backpack making the grade?

It's important to make sure your children's backpacks are packed safely.

Anne Christine / Getty Images

With most students in B.C. heading back-to-school next week, chiropractors around the province would like to remind parents about the long-term health risks of poorly designed backpacks.

The British Columbia Chiropractic Association (BCCA) says 50 per cent of Canadian youth will suffer at least one case of back pain throughout their school years.

Aside from these injuries being painful, they can significantly impact a student’s ability to concentrate within the classroom and the enjoyment of sports and leisure activities.

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“Injuries related to backpacks that are too heavy or worn incorrectly can have lasting effects,” said BCCA president, Dr. Jay Robinson, in a release. “It’s very important that parents and educators pay attention that backpacks are not overloaded and are worn correctly.”

Listed below are some tips that will help prevent future injuries:

START WITH THE BAG: Choose a lightweight bag (canvas or vinyl are best) with a padded back, two wide (around two inches in width) shoulder straps, a hip or waist strap and lots of pockets.

MAXIMIZE THOSE POCKETS: Pick a backpack with lots of compartments, and use them, to help balance the load.

HEAVIER ITEMS IN THE BACK: Pack heaviest items closest to your back. Make sure items in the backpack are not sliding around.

PACK IT LIGHT: The backpack should only contain what is needed for the day. Kids in grades K-8 should not carry more than 10 per cent of their total body weight. Kids in grades 8 and up can get away with up to 15 per cent. Weight adds up quick so make sure to weigh that pack.

WEAR IT RIGHT: Place the backpack on a flat, waist-level surface and slip straps on one at a time. Adjust the straps so the pack sits flush against the back, it should be fit well but not be too tight (if you can’t slide a hand between the pack and your child’s back it’s too tight. Use the hip or waist strap, it reduces the strain on the back.

For more backpack tips and downloadable backpack safety resources, visit:

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