One of the main features that sets a YUUbag aside from an ‘ordinary backpack’ is the special ergonomic design. The team at YUU are passionate about promoting good posture, and as a result healthier spines.
When designing the YUUbag, we worked with BackCare – the UK’s charity for healthier backs – and with their advice and guidance our YUUdesigners have been able to ensure our YUUbags address the key issues with backpacks and posture:
Did you know… In a National Back Pain Association study, it emerged that 80% of children are carrying badly designed bags or carrying them incorrectly, often on one shoulder
Did you know… that according to the charity BackCare, up to 50%of children have developed some form of back pain by age 14?
With so many children experiencing back pain it’s important that we’re all back aware. With the help of physiotherapists, chiropractors and osteopaths we’ve developed these simple tips to encourage small lifestyle changes that will make a big difference.
“Children’s spines grow and develop rapidly, especially in adolescence, and it’s imperative that correct posture is maintained and care is taken in these formative years to avoid problems later in life. Many children carry substantial weight to, from and around school on a daily basis. Often the weight of the rucksack pulls children backwards which in turn prompts them to lean forward or arch their backs to keep the weight centred. Over time this position can compress the spine causing pain and discomfort. We would always advise parents to invest in a supportive backpack” – Annie Khenian, Paediatric Osteopath
“My school met with YUUworld during the development of the backpack and were able to add input and advise at the design stage of the YUUschool backpack. I had the opportunity to trial the new YUUschool earlier this year as part of a test market and I have to say I was thoroughly impressed. I often see children wearing bags on one shoulder which we know isn’t healthy over a long period of time but with the YUUschool the children wanted to wear them on both shoulders for the additional comfort that provided. It’s a bag that really has thought of everything and one I would have no hesitations in recommending” – Simon James, headmaster of Felsted Preparatory School
A backpack style of school bag is usually more comfortable than a bag that puts strain on only one shoulder such as a satchel style. Buying a well-designed backpack with wide, padded shoulder straps will help reduce pressure on the neck and shoulder area. It’s also important to buy a bag with adjustable straps that can be altered in line with your child’s growth.
This helps to spread the weight evenly over the body. Children’s spines are still developing and carrying a heavy bag on one shoulder can place an unnatural pressure on the spine and surrounding muscles.
Children are often required to carry a lot of items to, from and around school. This includes books, PE kits, musical instruments, lunch bags and often more. It’s important that your child is carrying as little as possible to reduce the total weight and we recommend a weekly clear out to help them organise their contents for the week ahead and ensure only essentials are being carried. If your child’s school provides lockers encourage your child to store heavy, infrequently used items in these rather than carry around with them for the day.
It shouldn’t weigh more than 10% of their bodyweight e.g. if your child weighs five stone their bag should not weigh more than 3.1kg
You can help your child to pack their backpack with the heaviest items they need to carry (usually laptops and heavy books), closest to the child’s body. Backpacks with vertical compartments are ideal as they help keep these weightier items close to the child’s back, therefore making carrying the weight more comfortable and less likely to strain back muscles.
At home and at school. Children come in many shapes and sizes, but school desks and chairs do not – ensure your child is sitting properly and comfortably at school. Children spend a lot of time sitting in schools. It’s useful to remind them to sit fully into the chair with a straight back and not to perch on the edge. We recommend checking your child’s posture when they are wearing their school bag. Your child shouldn’t be leaning forward or slouching, if they are then it’s likely they are carrying too much, have packed their bag incorrectly or aren’t using a supportive backpack style bag.
An inactive lifestyle is a major contributor to the development of back pain, not to mention obesity. It is widely acknowledged that undertaking regular physical activity will help your child stay fit and healthy in addition to strengthening core muscles that support the spine. Take advantage of active family pursuits such as walking, running, swimming, cycling etc as these will all help to reduce the risk of developing back pain. There are also many hobbies that promote and encourage good posture such as dance, yoga, martial arts and drama.
Looking down to use smart phones, tablets and laptops for an extended period of time can pull the back and neck into an unnatural posture, resulting in pain. It’s a good idea to limit the amount of time using such devices and encouraging regular breaks away, ideally at least every 20 minutes. If your child regularly uses a laptop for their homework, you might want to consider purchasing a laptop elevator to raise the screen to a height that allows them to sit up straight to look at the screen rather than constantly looking down.
Perhaps not an obvious consideration when you think about preventing back pain but this is often an issue for fashion conscious girls who want to wear a high heels. The elevation can cause the calf muscles to shorten and push the body forward which is often compensated by leaning backwards to maintain balance. This in turn can increase the lower back curvature and cause pain. It’s important for children to wear correctly fitted shoes which are relatively flat to support their posture.
Finally, you should encourage your children to talk to you if they experience any back pain or discomfort. if your child does complain of any back pain, it is important to seek advice from qualified professional, such as an osteopath who can help to establish the cause of the problem and provide advice on appropriate treatment.