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Backpack Safety 101

As kids go back to school, it’s time for a review of backpack safety. Heavy or improperly worn backpacks can cause pain and injury.

What Type of School Bag is Safest?

The best backpack distributes weight evenly, comes with wide, padded straps, and contains compartments. Messenger bags, tote bags, purses, and briefcases are less ideal because they do not distribute weight evenly. Bags with wheels may not be allowed at your child’s school, and they still need to be lifted when your child climbs stairs or boards the school bus. Look for a lightweight backpack with adjustable padded straps.

Backpack Dos and Don’ts

Do organize items in the backpack so that large, heavy textbooks are closest to the spine.

Do weigh your child’s backpack. It should not exceed 10-15% of your child’s body weight, depending on their strength and build.

Do check your child’s posture while carrying the backpack. If they are arching their back or slouching forward, it might be too heavy.

Do teach your child about organization and planning. They should not be bringing every book home with them every night. Have them write their homework assignments down in a lightweight planner and teach them to take home only what they need.

Don’t sling backpacks over the shoulder. This can cause muscle strain in the shoulders, neck, upper back, and lower back.

Don’t let the backpack sag, as this can strain muscles. Tighten straps so┬áthe middle of the back and the abdominal muscles are doing the work.

Do talk to your child’s teacher if you follow all these tips and still have concerns about backpack weight. They may be able to adjust homework assignments.

Proper backpack use prevents spinal compression. Do backpack checks periodically throughout the school year to make sure your child hasn’t accumulated unnecessary items.

Posted in Blog on August 16th, 2017