Back to School – The perfect time to check your child’s posture!

Be Healthy

It’s that time of the year again, and as the back to school preparations get underway, the Chiropractors Association of SA are encouraging parents to be mindful of their child’s spinal heath this school year.

The back to school period is a great time to check the fitting of your child’s backpack, and through making just a few simple changes, you could help prevent poor posture and long-term spinal health issues.

A study conducted by the Chiropractors’ Association of Australia revealed that almost 90 percent of school children have bad posture when carrying their bags, while 75 per cent are not using their backpack’s ergonomic features which could prevent such damage!

Avoiding that back to school backache is easy with these simple tips on how to wear a backpack correctly:

  • Size: make sure the backpack is appropriately sized and no wider than the child’s chest.
  • Weight: backpacks should ideally be no heavier than 10 per cent of a student’s weight when packed. Some of the ways to keep the weight of the load down is by packing only essential items and storing unrequired items in a school locker.
  • Straps: both shoulder straps (preferably padded) should always be worn. Make sure to secure the sternum, waist and compression straps.
  • Position: the backpack shouldn’t be worn any lower than the hollow of the lower back with all heavy items positioned at the base of the pack, closest to the spine.

Dr. Mario Stefano, President of the Chiropractors’ Association of Australia (South Australia) encourages parents to look out for the signs of an incorrectly worn backpack.

“Children often display physical signs which could suggest that their backpack is too heavy or not being worn correctly,” he said.

“This could include forward head posture, slouching and uneven hips. Identifying and stopping these signs early on is important as the spine is still developing during the adolescent years.”

CAA, Spartan School Supplies and Macquarie University have joined forces to research and develop the ‘Chiropak’. This durable, functional and comfortable backpack is designed to reduce the incidence and severity of neck and back pain associated with the carriage of heavy loads. These backpacks can be purchased online here – or requested through the school’s uniform shop.

Another important measure parents can take is to download the Straighten Up App that the CAA have developed, which is a very useful tool for both parents and children alike, and aims to address the growing postural issues and back pain problems faced by Australians.

The app can send you notifications about sitting right, stretching, and improving your posture while doing things such as carrying your backpack or sitting at a desk, and is available for download for both Android and Apple.

“At this time of year as children go back to school – The Straighten Up App is a great resource for why good posture is so important for overall health, and how this can be affected by the health of your spine.”

“The App has an augmented reality feature which explains good and bad posture for many different daily activities, it provides daily exercises and can even locate your local chiropractor for you if you are experiencing pain or discomfort or have issues that need addressing.” Dr Stefano said.

It’s important to monitor children as they head back to school, and to prevent back pain or monitor any postural or pain issues, consult your local Chiropractor.

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