The holidays are over, the uniforms are ironed, the kids are ready to go back to school. It’s a stressful time for both parents and children, with lots of things to be remembered (and lots more forgotten). One of the things that often gets overlooked in the rush of the new year is how you can help prevent our childrens' injuries over the school year. There are a range of different factors, some of which parents have control over, some which they don’t, but all are things to make sure are on your checklist for ensuring your little (or not so little) ones get the most out of their school year injury free.
Backpacks: The little preppies look so adorable in their oversized school bags that are almost as big as they are, and our older kids think they are cool with their bag slung over one shoulder, but the Australian Physiotherapy Association reported, up to 70% of school children may suffer back pain from their school bags. To avoid this, they have supplied some helpful tips for children of all ages:
Backpacks should weigh less than 10% of your child’s weight – take only what they need for the day to keep weight down, and keep things in their locker or classroom that they don’t need at home.
Backpacks should be fitted to your child – no wider than their chest, padded and fitted snugly to the back, with waist or chest straps where able to take the pressure off. Pick for comfort, not for looks.
Wear it right – make sure your child wears both straps, and that they are tight enough that the backpack sits on the waist, not hanging low over their buttocks
Load it right – heaviest items (those chunky textbooks) should be packed closest to the spine, and things should be packed snugly to avoid the load shifting.
Physical activity: probably worse than the backpack conundrum, our kids are getting less physical activity. With our busy schedules, and their increased screen time, kids are spending more time sitting and less time moving, leading to postural problems such as sore necks and backs that we usually don’t see until people are well into adulthood. How can we parents help?
Teach your child to move regularly – sitting in their chairs they can do a few easy stretches as shown by our cute little model Emily
Park in the quiet street a couple of blocks from school and walk to avoid the drop off rush and sneak in some exercise, or better yet, if you live close enough, walk to school
Encourage after school physical activity – they have spent most of the day at a desk, so use the last few hours of sunlight to run around in the yard, or go to the park. Homework can wait until dinner time.
Encourage your child to take up a sport they enjoy.