It’s “that” time of year again! And while this school year may still be different from years past, nothing says a "fresh start" like a new backpack!
Did you know that choosing your child’s backpack may be one of the most important decisions you’ll make for the upcoming school year?
Why? The way a backpack is carried can have long term health effects including muscle strain, headaches, back, neck, arm pain, and may even cause nerve damage.
Below are a few tips for choosing, loading, lifting and wearing backpacks correctly.
Choosing the Right Backpack
The backpack should be proportionate to your child’s body. The top of the bag should not extend higher than the top of the shoulder, and the bottom should not fall below the hip bone.
Made of lightweight material (vinyl or canvas)
Have padded shoulder straps at least two inches wide that can be adjusted to your child’s body
Have a hip/waist strap that can help distribute up to 50-70% of the weight off of the shoulders.
Packing the Backpack
Backpacks shouldn’t exceed 15% of the child’s weight
Use the individual pockets to help distribute the weight evenly
Pack the heaviest items closest to the body
Pack odd-shaped items on the outside of the bag
Demonstrate and Advise Your Children on Lifting and Wearing Their Backpack
ALWAYS wear both shoulder straps
Adjust straps so the backpack fits snug
Use the waist straps
Squat or kneel to pick up the bag off of the floor
Lift with the knees to avoid excessive twisting or bending
When in doubt remember: Pack-it-light and wear-it-right!