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School has started here. And one of the coveted traditions of many children is picking out a special backpack to take to school. Some start as early as first grade, and as they grow and weigh down their backpacks with sports and school supplies, it can quickly become a serious health issue.
Here are good rules of thumb to follow when buying and packing a child’s backpack.
1. Choosing the right size backpack is the most important step to safe backpack use. Choose the right size for your child, and make sure straps can be adjusted to fit your child.
2. The maximum weight of the loaded backpack should not exceed 15 percent of the child’s body weight. Teach your child the importance of packing a backpack, what they should carry in it, and what they can leave at home or at school. Tip: If the backpack forces the wearer to move forward to carry, it’s overloaded.
3. Face the pack, bend at the knees and use both hands to check the weight of the pack. Lift with the legs. Apply one shoulder strap and then the other. Tip: Don’t sling the backpack onto one shoulder. Distribute the weight evenly across your back.
4. Use both shoulder straps – snug, but not too tight. Tip: When the backpack has a waist strap – use it.
Backpacks are a practical way for children and teenagers to carry school books and supplies. When used correctly, backpacks can be a good way to carry the necessities of the school day. Be sure your child’s school allows students to stop at their lockers throughout the day.
Backpacks are designed to distribute the weight of the load among some of the body’s strongest muscles. However, backpacks that are too heavy or are worn incorrectly can cause problems. Improperly used backpacks may injure muscles and joints. This can lead to severe back, neck, and shoulder pain, as well as long term posture problems. Share these guidelines to help your kids select backpacks and use them safely.
Do not ignore complaints of back pain from your child.