(Columbia)- Fifth grader Caitlynn Tracy says last school year was painful.
“I would go home complaining about my back hurting from carrying all my books,” she said.
So she and her buddy Richie Kelly are getting some advice from Doctor Daniel Matzner.
“What's the best way to pack a book bag?” Matzner quizzed Tracy. “From the largest book to the smallest,” she answered correctly.
For nearly a decade, Matzner has held clinics, teaching students and parents the safe way to wear a backpack.
“Wearing a backpack incorrectly, over time, can cause anything to happen,” said Matzner.
Another tip, put your backpack on a desk or table before you put it on. That way there’s no bending over.
“You don't want to be reaching down at an awkward angle lifting a bag that's 10 to 15% greater than your body weight trying to get it on your back. You run the risk of hurting your spine,” the doctor said.
Matzner says your kids need to wear both shoulder straps, and while it may not be trendy, they need to tighten them down.
“You're getting your straps nice and tight so it's riding up as high as possible,” he said.
Also, make sure the bag weighs less than 15% of your child's body weight, and that they're getting plenty of exercise so they can handle that weight.
“You stay active and you're in shape,” said Matzner, “you want to make sure that your child can both handle the load and stay active and physically fit.”
And after trying a few of these tips, Caitlynn says this year should be much less painful.
“It really made a difference. I could feel that my back had more support than it did when I had my other backpack on.”
Tuesday evening at 6:30 you can catch Matzner’s full backpack safety seminar at the Jewish Community Center on Flora Drive. But if you’d like to set up your on seminar, give him a call at his office, Matzner Family Chiropractic, at (803)738-8286.