With a new school year already upon us, there are a few things you can do to help your child prepare and ensure a safe, active and healthy lifestyle.
It is important your child’s backpack fits correctly so the load through their back is distributed evenly, which can prevent issues such as back pain. Research has shown that moderately weighted backpacks are NOT detrimental to a child’s back health. It is important to ensure the backpack fits correctly, rather than be concerned with how heavy it is. Here are a few tips to make sure your child’s backpack is fitted correctly:
– Choose a backpack with wide shoulder straps that sit well on the shoulder.
– The use of waist and chest straps can help transfer some of the load to the hips and pelvis.
– A padded back support will allow the backpack to have a snug fit on the back.
– Ensure the backpack fits the child – avoid buying one to grow into.
– Refrain from swinging backpacks around. Risk Factors for back pain include:
Did you know that the average child wears their school shoes for over 1500 hours per year? Therefore it is essential that your child has shoes that are the right fit for their feet. According to the Australian Physiotherapy Association, you should look for school shoes that:
– Have a firm heel counter. This is designed to hold the foot in place. Shoes without firm support around the ankle can be harmful as the shoe is not able to support the foot properly.
– Good torsional stability. The shoe should twist in the opposite directions when held at either end. There should be minimal movement to protect the foot from rolling in or out too far.
– Make sure the shoe bends in the right places. Squeeze both ends of the shoe together – it should bend at the toes where the foot naturally bends.
– Make sure the shoe fits correctly. Too big or too small could cause blisters or the foot to move around too much.
Obesity rates in children and adolescents have increased significantly since the 1970s, therefore the need to get kids physically active is more important than ever. Ways to incorporate more physical activity into a child’s days include walking or riding to school. The Physiotherapy Association’s paediatric group chair, Julianne Pegler says “Sedentary habits aren’t likely to be broken unless there are easy, attractive ways for kids and teens to be regularly active.” Parents are key role models in encouraging their children to be physically active, so they should get moving regularly too.