Backpack Safety Advice

By Dr. Donald A. Ozello DC

Las Vegas Informer

Back and spine conditions acquired in childhood frequently lead to adult back issues. Eliminate a chief source of youth back pain by purchasing the correct backpack and utilizing it properly.

Backpacks are essential back-to-school items. Choose wisely and teach your child how to pack and wear it properly.

First and foremost pick a backpack that fits your child. Bigger is not better. Extra room encourages over packing.

Backpacks with individualized compartments position the contents more efficiently. Separate compartments prevent unbalanced weight distribution and allow for easier removal of unnecessary objects.

The shoulder straps must be adjustable to ensure proper fit. Adjustable straps position the pack over the back correctly.

Wide padded shoulder straps are recommended. Wider straps distribute forces to a greater area of the shoulder. Narrow straps dig into the shoulder and place unnecessary pressure on the upper back and clavicles.

The bottom edge of the backpack should never hang lower than four inches below the waistline. A low hanging pack places increased pressure on the child’s shoulders and upper back.

Instruct your child to always wear their backpack with both straps. Unsymmetrical stress on the body increases the risk of poor posture and potential for injury.

Keep the load as light as possible. Ensure the weight of the loaded backpack never exceeds 5 to 10 percent of the carrier’s weight. Heavy loads force the user to bend forward, thus place increased pressure on the spine. Excessive load, poor posture and repetitive strain are contributing factors for back injuries.

Utilize proper lifting technique when lifting a back pack. Never bend forward at the waist or twist while lifting. Squat while lifting in order to recruit the powerful leg, hip and gluteal muscles to perform the work.

Talk to your child’s school if the student is required to carry too many heavy objects. Work with teachers to find a solution before a health issue starts.

Follow these simple guidelines to lower your child’s risk of acquiring backpack-related back pain.

Dr. Donald A. Ozello DC

Dr. Donald A. Ozello DC is the owner and treating doctor at Championship Chiropractic. 2595 S. Cimarron Rd, Suite #100, Las Vegas, NV 89117.  His web address is He can be contacted at (702) 286-9040 and

Dr. Donald A. Ozello’s mission is to educate and inspire others to live healthier, fitter, more functional lives.

Dr. Donald A. Ozello DC writes a weekly health, fitness, exercise and nutrition column for The Las Vegas Informer. His is published in OnFitness magazine, and

Dr. Donald A. Ozello DC is an award-winning public speaker. He has spoken to numerous groups on health, fitness, exercise, ergonomics and nutrition.

Dr. Donald A. Ozello DC loves to exercise. Bike riding and kettlebell training are his current favorite types of exercises. He credits Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lou Ferrigno and Sly Stallone as major influences during his teens and early twenties.

Before pursuing his career in Chiropractic, Dr. Donald A. Ozello DC served in the United States Navy aboard the USS Bremerton, SSN 698.

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