Do you have a child entering middle school soon? Or do you have a plan to take your kids with you on your next hunting or camping trip? If so, it is important for you to know that you and your children should be prepared for these events. And that means having all the necessary things and equipment at hand. For camping, among the essential things you need to have include tents, flashlights, cooking supplies, and foods; and for schooling, your children need new uniforms, textbooks, notebooks, and other school supplies. But aside from these, you also need to make sure that you and your children have the right gear to carry those items you need to bring with you. And the best option for that job is a backpack.
Backpacks come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and fabrics to meet each user’s specific needs. They are designed to serve a lot of purpose to users. While some backpacks are primarily designed for carrying equipment, some backpacks are used only for aesthetic purposes, usually to enhance someone’s appearance. When used properly, backpacks become incredibly useful and handy. Most backpacks that are available in stores feature multiple compartments that allow users to keep their things and supplies within reach, which also help them to stay organized. Compared with other kinds of bags, such as shoulder bags and messenger bags, backpacks are considered better since they have a potential to carry heavy loads and are more comfortable to use. They are specifically designed to evenly distribute the weight of the load across the body’s strongest muscles – the back and abdominal muscles.
While backpacks are helpful in carrying your things, overloaded backpacks or improper use of them can cause health problems for children. Improper use of backpacks, such as wearing it over just one shoulder, may injure muscles and joints, which can then lead to severe shoulder pain, neck pain, and poor posture. Carrying heavy backpacks can also cause injuries and other muscle problems.
The Right Way to Wear a Backpack
To reduce the chance of injury or pain, you should educate your children on how to wear it the right way.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests:
- Use both shoulder straps all the time.
- Tighten the straps so that the backpack is close to the body.
- Only carry lighter items. The pack should weigh no more than 10-20% of the user’s body weight.
- Distribute the weight evenly. Organize heavier items close to the user’s back.
- Don’t bring too many items. Consider only taking needed items, and leave everything else at your school locker.
- Practice proper posture; when you need to bend down, bend at knees not the waist.
- Strengthen your muscles around your back.
Choose the Right Backpack
There are different types and styles of backpacks available in stores, and with the so many items that claim to be the best option, choosing the best backpacks can be so tricky. Again, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) offer the following suggestions to help you find the right backpack for your child needs:
- Choose a lightweight backpack.
- Consider a backpack with wider, padded shoulder straps.
- Consider a pack with two shoulder straps and padded back for comfort.
- Consider a backpack with waist strap so that the weight of load can be distributed more evenly.
- Choose a backpack with multiple compartments to distribute the weight more evenly and stay organized.
- If you often carry heavier items, consider a rolling backpack.
By following these tips and suggestions, you can help your children have a safer school year and camping trip!