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Take the Pain out of Going Back to School

In an August 3, 2006 release by the Ontario Chiropractic Association carried by the CNW Group, the chiropractors of Ontario are offering safety reminders to children who are returning to school after a summer break. These reminders relate to carefully selecting and using backpacks for children.

Dr. Bryan Wolfe, President of the Ontario Chiropractic Association (OCA) starts off by saying, "Excessive or unevenly distributed weight in a backpack can put strain on a child's growing spine, which can lead to serious back pain, changes in posture and gait, and potential irritation and injury of the spine, joints and muscles."

The OCA has initiated a public education program called, "Pack It Light. Wear It Right." The purpose of this campaign is to try to avoid problems caused by heavy, or improper backpacks. To accomplish this the OCA is providing things such as posters, information and activity literature, and a video that shows the proper way to pack, lift, carry, and even choose a backpack.

Dr. Kristina Peterson, chair of the OCA's External Relations Committee added, "Following a few simple guidelines can make a world of difference for your child's spinal health." They also provided a list of recommendations in the article to help educate people on this issue. Some of these recommendations include:

  • Choose a backpack that is proportionate to body size and not larger than needed.
  • Select a backpack made of lightweight material.
  • The shoulder straps should be at least two inches wide, adjustable, and padded.
  • A backpack should have a padded back for added protection and comfort.
  • Evenly distribute contents and pack the heaviest items closest to the body.
  • Explore other backpack options such as a backpack with wheels and pull handles.
  • Backpacks should never exceed 15 per cent of a secondary school child's body weight or 10 per cent of an elementary school child's body weight.