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Health Happy Round-Up: Backpack Safety

health happy round-upWelcome to a weekly series on Traveling with Baby, Health Happy Round-Up which focuses on multiple aspects of wholesome living and optimal health for the entire family.  Each weekend, Traveling with Baby will share some insightful news, recipes, and tips to help you consider fresh new perspectives on wholesome and happy health.

Back pain only happens to adults–right?  I mean, I don’t recall kids telling other kids about headaches and how much their backs were hurting them when I was a kid.

In chiropractic school, we learned a key point:  It’s very unusual for children to experience head, neck, or back pain.

Adults, yeah well, that’s par for course from driving in cars (the average American adult experiencing a car accident at least once every 4-6 years), sitting in desks in poor posture, and just not taking care of overall health and posture.  j0439398

But, children.  They’re not supposed to get neck pain or low back pain.  When that occurs, it should be a red flag that something is wrong.

According to a recent article by the American Chiropractic Association (ACA), a recent and troubling trend has found that:

young children are suffering from back pain much earlier than previous generations, and the use of overweight backpacks is a contributing factor, according to the American Chiropractic Association. In fact, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that backpack-related injuries sent more than 7,000 people to the emergency room in 2001 alone.

The article by the ACA goes on to cite studies of backpack-related back pain in children in France and Italy.

j0439539But there’s hope!  Learn smart tips on ways to make backpack carrying safe for your children by reading the rest of the article from the ACA here.

For more information on backpack related back pain in children, read the abstract published by the Scoliosis Research Society, “Backpack Use as a Risk-Factor in Children’s Back Pain“, as well as the abstract “Back Pain in Adolescents Using Backpacks“.

Interestingly, both abstracts note that females tend to have more backpack-related back pain compared to males.

These trends are disturbing, and I don’t want to sit around while the kids in my community continue to over stuff their bags with too many books and chronically wear away on their posture.

What have I decided to do about it?

Well, I’m glad you asked!  First of all, I was asked by Scholastic to provide my expert opinion on my top 3 choices for children’s backpacks and reasons why.  My choices will be available in the September issue of Parent and Child Magazine . . . so, don’t miss it! For the record, I did not receive any compensation or products for review when writing my opinion on backpacks.  I’m familiar with the brands and styles, and there were key features regarding backpack safety, ergonomics, fitting, and weight-distribution that weighed in on my decision.  If you e-mail me, I’d be happy to share my top recommendations for backpacks with you!

back to schoolSecondly, my practice, Spinal Health & Wellness, is partnering with Whole Foods for their Back to School Taste Event on Thursday, August 20th from 4-6 p.m. to provide healthy recipes and after-school snacks.

  • I’ll be on site to help children with backpack fitting and sizing.
  • I’ll also help them determine the max amount of weight they should carry in their backpacks.
  • Take home some healthy and yummy snack recipes
  • Try out great snacks throughout the store
  • Whole Foods is also providing free re-usable lunch boxes to the first 100 school-aged children to come to the event.  What a sweet deal!
–By Dr. Dolly
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