Back to School – Backpack Safety 101




Focus on Health:

Back to School – Backpack Safety 101

By: Dr. Martin Gurvey

Children's backpackI hope you all had an enjoyable and relaxing summer, but now it’s time to get back to routine and for many of you that means getting the kids ready to go back to school. Let’s have a look at a few ways to make sure your child starts the school year healthy and happy.


When getting ready to return to school, students and their parents should take the time to choose the right backpack, as a bad choice can lead to discomfort or injury.  A 2002 study at Queen’s University found that properly distributing the weight evenly in the right backpack can make a big difference in preventing injuries and being free of pain.  In children, overloaded backpacks are a leading cause of neck and back pain and a common complaint seen in chiropractors’ offices this time of year.

Here are some tips for proper backpack use:

  1. DON’T SLOUCH – Lighten the load if the backpack is too heavy.
  2. STRAIGHTEN UP – Use both shoulder straps and avoid postures which cause leaning
  3. LIFT SAFELY – Always use your knees (not your back) to lift the pack or any other heavy object.
  4. PUT IT ON RIGHT – If possible, place the backpack on a chair or desk at the right height to put it on, one strap at a time.
  5. USE THOSE POCKETS – Pockets help space out the load instead of dumping everything in a big heap inside the backpack.
  6. KEEP HEAVY ITEMS CLOSE – Try to pack the heaviest items close to the body.
  7. USE A WAIST BELT – If there is a waist belt, use it to decrease the load on the shoulders.

Your child should carry no more than 10-15% of their body weight in their school bags.  When a heavy weight such as a backpack stuffed with books is incorrectly placed on the shoulders, the weight can pull the child backwards, causing them to compensate by bending forward at the hips or arching the back, causing the spine to compress unnaturally.

When picking a backpack, look for the following features:  Two wide, padded shoulder straps; padded back; waist belt and multiple compartments or pockets.

Many parents ask when they should take their child to see the chiropractor.  If your son or daughter is complaining of headaches, neck, shoulder or back pain that lingers longer than a few days, it may be more than a simple muscle strain and should be checked for spinal misalignment or dysfunction.  Since the growing spine is generally not assessed in detail in a medical checkup, we also recommend a spinal checkup and postural evaluation as a preventative measure.  Now is an ideal time to bring your child in for a chiropractic assessment to ensure they are “well-adjusted” as they begin the school year.


If you have any questions or concerns regarding picking a good backpack, please don’t hesitate to contact Dr.Gurvey during our office hours.


Source: Heel Canada

Euphorbium SprayInfections and inflammation of the nasal mucosa are increasingly frequent in modern society due to mounting environmental toxins, hectic and stressful lifestyles and the rise in chronic diseases.  Treatment often involves the use of multiple medications, which may lead to a general weakening of the immune system.  As a result, infections may begin to appear more frequently because of damage caused to the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract, and in turn, threaten the individual’s immunity.

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Recipe: Apple-Butternut Squash Soup

Recipe from:

Serves: 6

Apple Butternut Squash Soup


  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 butternut squash (about 2 pounds), peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 4 red or golden apples, peeled, cored, and chopped, plus 1 apple, finely diced and tossed in lemon juice, for garnish (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 1/2 cups water, plus more if needed
  • 1 jalapeno chili, thinly sliced, for garnish (optional)
  • Sour cream, for garnish (optional)


  1. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to soften, about 4 minutes. Add squash, and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add apples, salt, cumin, coriander, ginger, cayenne, black pepper, stock, and the water (just enough to cover). Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cook until vegetables are very soft, about 30 minutes.
  3. Puree in batches in a food processor or blender until smooth, and return to saucepan. Heat over low, thinning with more water if necessary. To serve, ladle into shallow bowls; garnish with diced apples, jalapeno slices, and sour cream if desired.

Cook’s Note

The soup can be made ahead of time and refrigerated up to 3 days or frozen up to a month; let cool completely before storing in an airtight container. Reheat gently before serving (thaw frozen soup overnight in the refrigerator).

Did you know?

Apple TreeApple varieties range in size from a little larger than a cherry to as large as a grapefruit. There are apples that have an aftertaste of pears, citrus, cinnamon, cloves, coconut, strawberries, grapes and even pineapple!

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1 Response to Back to School – Backpack Safety 101

  1. Rosalina says:

    Very good information. Lucky mee I recently found your website by accident (stumbleupon).
    I have book-marked it for later!

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