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Dr. Jen's Top 5 Tips for Parents - Back Packs

Back Pack PostureWe are well into the school year, which means your child has been carrying their back pack to and from school daily for several weeks.

Back Pack Injuries?

How much does that backpack actually weigh?  Do you know?  It’s completely ok if you don’t, but it is something you should start to keep track of!  Often times, the weight of our child’s backpack is off our radar as being a potential health concern.  However, a backpack that weighs too much can cause postural stress to your child’s body, which could lead to troubles down the road.  A back pack that weighs more than 15% of your child’s body weight can damage your child’s developing spine!

5 Tips to Safe, Healthy Back Pack Use

Below are my Top 5 Tips to ensure that your child maintains a healthy posture while carrying their backpack.

Backpack Chart1.) Weigh your child’s back pack, ideally each week, to ensure that it is staying below the 15% of their body weight mark (See diagram below for quick reference)

2.) Check the straps of your child’s backpack for proper shoulder placement.  Make sure that the bottom of the backpack sits at the curve of the lower back, usually around the belt line.

3.) Wearing the backpack on both shoulders will prevent postural injuries, so be sure to remind your child each week of this importance.

4.) Each week, Sunday is a good time, empty your child’s backpack with them.  It is a great time to go through everything they carry, as well as find those missing papers and notes from the teacher!  It will also help remind them to carry only what is necessary to and from school.

5.) If your child is not under regular chiropractic care, take a moment to assess their posture at home.  I have a guide below.  Postural deviations are early signs of distress on the spine and nervous system.  Have your child checked and evaluated by a pediatric chiropractor if you see or suspect any postural distortions, or if you child is complaining of pain related to their posture (ie, headaches, shoulder pain, upper back/neck pain, etc).  Like dentistry, early detection and correction is the key to better health.

How Do I Check My Child’s Posture?

If you are concerned about your child’s posture, you are able to do a quick at home assessment.  If you visualize any postural deviations, as the example photo shows, contact your family wellness chiropractor for a more thorough examination.  Follow the steps below to assess your child’s posture from the back and side.

Have your child stand in front of you, with their back facing you and follow the four steps.Posture Matters

  • Step one – look at bottom of ears; if one is higher than the other, this is head tilt and a sign of a possible neck misalignment.
  • Step two – look at the shoulders; they should be level, if they are not, shoulder tilt is a sign of a possible mid-back issue.
  • Step three – place your hands on the wing bones or scapula; if one is moved toward you more than the other, this could be the sign of mid back issue.
  • Step four – place your hands on your child’s hips; if one hand is higher than the other, this is hip tilt and can be an indicator of a misalignment of the hip, sacrum or lower back.
  • Have your child turn to face the side.  When looking at a side view there are two signs of possible postural deviations or spinal misalignments.  The first sign is the ear lobes; are they directly over the shoulder or slightly forward?  The second sign of a potential problem are shoulders hunched or rolled forward.


Document the changes you note to your child’s posture, and contact Dr. Jennifer Thompson, DC, CACCP to schedule a full examination of your child’s spine and nervous system today.  Let us help you give your child the healthiest school year possible!



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