This is an exciting time, but it also presents unique health challenges, and we aren’t talking about COVID-19. We’re talking about the toll a heavy backpack, poor posture or improper footwear can take on your child’s neuromusculoskeletal structure. Below, we’ve provided some tips, tricks and recommendations to keep your family safe.
1.) Keep your child’s backpack a reasonable weight. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends your child’s backpack weigh no more than 10-15% of their body weight. That means if your child is 100 pounds, their backpack should be between 10-15 pounds. Any additional weight can take a toll on their shoulder and back muscles or the vertebrae and discs in their spine.
In addition to packing lightly, encourage your child to use both backpack straps. Another way to reduce the risk of an injury is to tighten the straps, ensuring the backpack doesn’t move around.
2.) Have your children wear comfortable, supportive shoes. Temperatures often climb into the 70s and 80s during the first few weeks of a new school year. While it might be tempting to wear flip-flops, sandals or Crocs, these shoes provide very little support. If your child has to do much walking throughout the day, improper footwear can affect their gait and posture, increasing the risk of neck, back or leg pain. Make sure your child has a pair of close-toed shoes that are both comfortable and supportive. Tie them tightly each morning and if you notice extensive wear on the heels or soles, consider investing in a new pair.
3.) During online schooling, take frequent breaks. Depending on where you live, in-person schooling may not be an option. Still, there are steps you can take at home, to protect your child’s neuromusculoskeletal health. For example, long hours sitting in front of a computer screen or tablet can take a toll on the spine. Encourage your child to get up every 30-60 minutes (if possible) to stretch, have a glass of water and walk around. Stepping away from the computer for just five minutes can increase circulation, prevent boredom and relieve pressure on your child’s vertebral discs.
4.) Schedule routine chiropractic care appointments. Another easy way to prevent back and neck problems this school year is to visit your doctor of chiropractic. Booking an appointment for your child each month is an effective way to keep their spine in alignment. Plus, your doctor of chiropractic can make nutrition and lifestyle recommendations to encourage whole-body health.