• Julian Simpson

How should you be wearing your backpack?

School can be a challenging time for some children, so ensuring they are as comfortable as possible is important for their physical and mental development. Here are a few simple and easy to follow tips to remember. What to look for in a backpack:  Make sure the backpack is the right size for your child, no wider than their chest and below the hollow of their back.A moulded frame on the back, that when adjusted fits their spine.A bag made from a light weight material like canvas, with two padded straps.Adjustable waist and sternum straps.Separate compartments that allow for easy packing and weight distribution.

How to carry the backpack in a ‘spine safe’ way: Ensure that the weight of the backpack is no more than 10% of your child’s weight when packed. Only pack essentials to lessen the load, perhaps use school lockers if available.Pack the heaviest items closest to the spine and make sure all zippers are done up all the way. Secure the sternum and waist straps (they’re there for a reason).Always wear both straps, tell the kids it’s not cool to ‘one strap it’ anymore.Try to reduce time spent wearing the backpack to no more than 30 minutes at any one time.

Parents should keep in mind that it is ok to have some mild to moderate levels of spinal pain that is associated with physical activity – this pain is more often benign and self-limiting. Professional help should be sought if pain persists however. Being physically active is good for kids’ health

Australia’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines for Children aged 5–12 Years recommends children should undertake at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity everyday[1]. As an added bonus, this will assist in limiting their screen time as well. Use of electronic media for entertainment should be limited to less than 2 hours per day. Want to add a caption to this image? Click the Settings icon.

[1] Health.gov.au. (2018). Department of Health | Australia’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines. [online] Available at: http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/content/health-pubhlth-strateg-phys-act-guidelines.

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