Letter: Don’t weigh down your kids
It is that time of year when the children have returned to school, and some of them look like they are carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders. Look no further than their backpacks to understand why some of them are feeling that way.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that approximately 14,000 children are treated for backpack injuries per year. Approximately 5,000 children visit emergency rooms for injuries related to backpacks.
There are some factors that help to reduce these injuries. First, the weight of the backpack should not be more than 10 to 15 percent of a young person’s weight. Secondly, it is important that the backpack is properly fitted. Most sporting-goods stores are able to properly fit backpacks.
Realize that during these vital growing years of a child, this situation can lead to chronic pain and postural problems. Structural muscle and joint injuries can develop in the neck, shoulder, back and other areas in the body. This also may be a forerunner to scoliosis.
You can notice if the backpack is too much for your child. Signs would include grimacing or making sounds when they put the pack on. Also note their posture. If they are leaning over or not in good posture while they are carrying the pack, there is a problem. You should even lift the backpack up and see if you would want to carry it.
Realize that as the twig grows, so grows the tree. Postural problems can start early. It is never too early to teach your child how to take care of themselves and prevent health issues from developing. Good posture will reap many benefits in the future. There is a direct correlation between structure and function.