Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Today is National School Backpack Awareness Day

More than 79 million students in the United States carry school backpacks. Heavy backpacks can cause lower back pain, which sadly in some cases can last a lifetime. You can prevent back pain and strain by following a few safety tips:

  1. Always select a backpack that is the correct size for your child. 
  2. Make sure the height of the backpack extends from approximately 2 inches below the shoulder blades to waist level, or slightly above the waist. 
  3. Always wear well-padded shoulder straps on both shoulders so the weight is evenly balanced. 
  4. Distribute weight evenly. Load heaviest items closest to the child’s back and balance materials so the child can easily stand up straight. 
  5. Wear the hip belt if the backpack has one, to improve balance and take some strain off sensitive neck and shoulder muscles. 
  6. Check that the child’s backpack weighs no more than 10% of his or her body weight. If it weighs more, determine what supplies can stay at home or at school each day to lessen the load. 
  7. If the backpack is still too heavy for the child, consider a book bag on wheels. 
Check out more tips on loading and wearing a backpack (provided by the American Occupational Therapy Association).

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