Carrying a heavy backpack can be a source of chronic strain; and can cause shoulder, neck and back pain in children.
Five things to look for when choosing a back pack:
- wide shoulder straps that are comfortable and sit well on the shoulder
- waist and chest straps to help transfer some of the load to the hips and pelvis
- a padded back-support that allows the pack to fit ‘snugly’ on the back
- the backpack must fit the child. Don’t buy a big pack to ‘grow’ into, when sitting with the backpack on, the pack should not extend higher than the child’s shoulders
- look for one that carries an endorsement from a professional health organisation. The APA endorses Spartan Physiopaks.
Seven things to remember when your child starts school:
- keep the load close to the spine - pack the heaviest items nearest to your child’s back
- children must wear both straps at all times
- back packs should always weigh less than 10 per cent of your child’s body weight
- encourage your child to be physically active, this will help them build and maintain a strong spine
- encourage your child to be organised when packing their bag for school - check their timetable to ensure they are only carrying what they need
- to decrease the load your child should have separate folders for each subject so that they can only bring home what they need for their homework
If you are a parent concerned about your child’s posture or back health, you should have your child’s condition assessed by a physiotherapist.
The shape of children’s feet and legs changes during infancy and childhood. Variations such as in-turned, out-turned, or flat feet needn’t cause concern as they are quite normal and will correct over time; however if concerned, a parent should consult a physiotherapist for expert advice and management.
If you’re concerned about your child’s feet or leg shape, see a physiotherapist for:
• assessment of foot or leg problems
• advice on management of problems
If you child is experiencing changes in their feet or leg shape, or any type of growing pain that is causing concern, it is important that you have their condition assessed by a physiotherapist.