Thursday, November 27, 2008

Bagging the Right Bag for Your Kids

Growing pains affect at least 15% of the children in the United States. While it is not a disease, it is real for the kids and may even cause them to lie awake at night. With the many pain medications sold today, there really isn't any reason for you to let your child ride the pain out. However, since many medicines can cause uncomfortable side effects in children, it is best to keep them from having these pains. One of the best ways to do this is to ensure that your kids use the right bags for school.

School backpacks are useful and convenient in carrying books and stuff around. They can also serve as a fashion statement. However, they are also a prime cause of should strain and backache – two conditions that can seriously compound growing pains. To keep your child free of muscle pain but ready for school- especially now that September is just around the corner – here are some tips on bagging the right bag for your kids:

1.Opt for wide, padded shoulder straps.

Thin, unpadded straps have the unfortunate habit of digging onto your child's shoulders. Aside from causing welts, these straps contribute to uneven distribution of weight as they can easily slide off your child's shoulders. This is also true for one-strap bags. Wide, padded shoulder straps – and padded backs too, if possible – can prevent painful digging and uneven distribution of weight. This can reduce back strain. Opting for a backpack with a waist belt is also a good idea.

2.Look for multiple compartments.

Instead of going for backpacks with just one compartment, opt for one that has several smaller compartments. Multiple compartments for smaller items can better distribute weight within the backpack, as well as make it easy to find things that might otherwise be lost in the jumble. As such, choose backpacks with evenly distributed pockets as having them all on one side kind of defeats the purpose of balancing the weight.

3.Choose small backpacks.

In terms of size, go for small ones that pack a punch instead of big, hulking bags. Choose the smallest backpack that accommodates your child's books, notebooks, folders and other school supplies. As a general rule, the backpack shouldn't be wider than your child's torso nor should it come four inches below his waist. Smaller backpacks are also lighter and since the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children carry no more than 10 percent to 20 percent of their body weight in a backpack, smaller and lighter backpacks made of sturdy but lightweight materials are ideal.

Choosing the right backpack can very well save your child from growing pains, chronic back pain, and other bone and muscle disorders. Studies conducted by the American Occupational Therapy Association suggest that more than half of students from ages nine to 20 experience chronic back pain related to backpacks. If you're worried about the toll your child's backpack is taking on his back, consult your child's doctor for preventive measures and appropriate treatment methods.

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Kristine Anne Gonzaga is a content writer and researcher who specializes in health topics and health-related issues. She delights in finding tips and ideas on simple and practical healthcare and sharing them through her writing.

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