Is Your Child’s Backpack Safe? Are You Sure?

National School Backpack Awareness Day, created by the American Occupational Therapy Association, actually isn’t until September 19. But because you’re probably thinking of buying a backpack now, I wanted to share some key info. The tote your child uses to haul books and assorted treasures to school may seem not seem like a big deal, but too-heavy packs can cause pain and injury. More than 79 million kids in the United States carry backpacks, and more than half of them are carrying one that’s way too heavy. Overloading a backpack, or wearing it the wrong way, can cause back, neck and shoulder strain and pain. Pointers to keep in mind:

• A fully loaded backpack should weigh no more than ten percent of a child’s body weight. So a student weighing 70 pounds shouldn’t carry a backpack heavier than 7 pounds.

• Heaviest items should be loaded closest to the child’s back.

• Arrange books and materials so they don’t slide around inside.

• Regularly remove unnecessary items, to avoid added bulk.

• Buying a new pack? Select one with well-padded shoulders, to relieve pressure. The height of the backpack should extend from about two inches below the shoulder blades to waist level or slightly above; the bottom of the pack should rest in the curve of the lower back.

• Adjust shoulder straps so the pack fits snugly on your child’s back.

• Kids should always wear their backpacks on both shoulders, with the waist belt, so the weight is evenly distributed.


Image of school boy with backpack via Shutterstock

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  1. by Ubiqi Health

    On August 29, 2013 at 12:49 pm

  2. [...] One With Padding: Look for a backpack with thick padded straps and make sure your child uses both straps when carrying her backpack. [...]