Pack it light. Wear it right Kid-friendly back pack tips Iqaluit NU

As children prepare for summer days of hiking with friends or a week at summer camp, parents across Alberta are selecting backpacks to hold their chi ...

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Pack it light. Wear it right Kid-friendly back pack tips

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(NC)-As children prepare for summer days of hiking with friends or a week at summer camp, parents across Alberta are selecting backpacks to hold their child's belongings. But backpacks often carry heavy loads and, if not packed and carried properly, can cause headaches, back, neck and arm pain and even nerve damage.

The Alberta College and Association of Chiropractors (ACAC) provides the following tips for choosing, packing and carrying a backpack:

• The top of the backpack should not extend higher than the top of the shoulder and the bottom should not fall below the top of the hipbone.

• Select a backpack made of lightweight material (vinyl or canvas instead of leather).

• The shoulder straps should be at least two inches wide, adjustable and padded. Poorly designed shoulder straps can dig deep into the muscles and put strain on the nerves.

• The backpack should have a padded back for added protection and comfort.

• A hip strap or waist belt redistributes as much as 50 to 70 per cent of the weight off the shoulders and spine onto the pelvis, equalizing the strain on the bones, joints and muscles.

• Choose a backpack that has several individual pockets instead of one large compartment to distribute the weight evenly and keep contents from shifting.

• Explore other backpack options, such as one with wheels and a pull handle for easy rolling.

• Keep the weight in the backpack below 10 per cent of the child's body weight.

• Pack your child's backpack so the heaviest items are closest to the body.

• Ensure your child wears both straps-slinging a backpack on one shoulder puts a lot of strain on the growing body and spine.

• Encourage your child to use the waist belt and adjust the straps.

To ensure your child is healthy and strong, consult a chiropractor, who can teach you and your child how to pack, lift and carry a backpack properly to prevent injury. More information on this topic is available online at www.albertachiro.com.

Credit: www.newscanada.com