For many people the dog days of August can't end quickly enough. Between the excessive heat and a diet filled with more hot dogs and burgers than anyone should eat in a lifetime, the last days of summer are welcomed almost as much as we delighted in the arrival of the vacation season. And while that opinion will probably differ among the millions of kids who will soon be putting away the boogie boards and reluctantly taking to the textbooks, their parents couldn't be happier. In fact, there is an curious glow that appears on the faces of many parents at just about the same time that all the back-to-school commercials start hitting the airwaves. While back-to-school shopping can be as much of a pain in the bottom as holiday shopping, it does indeed come with the satisfaction of knowing that when it's done, little Johnny and Suzy's summer-fest will soon be coming to an end.
As you make your way up and down the aisles getting all of the "day one at school" essentials, trying to offset your irritation about how much you're spending by thinking about the days ahead when your every moment won't be consumed by keeping a watchful eye over your brood at the town pool or the beach, remember to shop wisely. Getting a bargain is always smart but some items, particularly your child's backpack, should be more carefully considered than others. While your little student might want to pick out a backpack solely on the basis of the themed design on the front of the pack, the wrong backpack, or a poorly constructed one can lead to untold back, neck and shoulder ailments.
Backpacks are probably the most common school accessory for kids of every age. From grade school to college campuses, take a good look at the students and the one thing that links kids from such a wide age group is their luggage of choice, the backpack. And while the pack itself is a great vehicle for fashion statements, colorful displays and designs, the most essential part of the backpack is its construction and how it suits your child physically. If a backpack is worn incorrectly or if it is too heavy it can strain the muscles and joints in a child's back and neck, which can lead to severe problems if left unnoticed or uncorrected.
Recent studies indicate that more than 65% of children have experienced some back pain from carrying their backpacks, with many of these cases identified as chronic. Children often complain about back, shoulder, and neck problems, as well as poor posture from using the wrong size backpack or one that is poorly constructed.
At the same time it should be noted that the omnipresence of the backpack among students is a testament to it's incredible functionality for toting almost everything. The backpack is not so much the issue as is its construction and its proper use. Here are a few tips for making sure that your back-to-schooler gets a safe and functional backpack.
First of all be sure that the backpack is the right size. Larger backs can handle larger packs but when that pack gets filled with heavy books, it can be too much of a load on even the biggest kids so keep the size of the pack within reason and always consider how much it will weigh when loaded. Padded shoulder straps are also a great feature so don't skimp on cheaper bag that don't have this added support.
Along with the logo of your kid's favorite sports team or school or rock band, try to get a backpack that has reflective material so that they are visible to traffic when its dark. Another tip to remember is the proper packing of the backpack. Load the heaviest items closest to your child's back and always adjust the shoulder straps so that the pack is snug to your child's back.
You can make your back-to-school smile last much longer knowing that you bought your child a safe and functional backpack and that he or she is using it properly in order to avoid a lifetime of back and shoulder issues.