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Back-to-School Backpack Safety Guide

Posted by on Aug 7, 2019 in Feature, Health and Wellness

an image of a girl with a backpack holding hands w an adult

For many parents, preparing for back-to-school includes purchasing one of the most important essentials for their child: a backpack. Depending on course load and after-school activities, some children and teens may carry around a backpack all day long, five days a week. If a backpack is too big, overloaded or fits awkwardly, it can cause issues like shoulder and back pain, fatigue and even injury. The following tips will help you confidently choose a backpack with health and safety in mind.

Choose a Well-designed Backpack
Select a backpack with padded back and shoulder straps to provide comfort and alleviate spine and shoulder pressure. Multiple compartments help distribute weight evenly, while a waist belt can offer additional lumbar support. The American Chiropractic Association warns against rolling backpacks as they can be difficult to maneuver and pose a tripping hazard in crowded school hallways.

Pack Accordingly
The total weight of a loaded backpack should not exceed 10 to 15 percent of a child’s weight. Pack heavier items closest to the back, where they are best supported. Clean out backpacks each week to remove unnecessary items and lighten loads. Consider checking with your child’s teacher about textbook alternatives to streamline contents.

Ensure the Right Fit
Children should wear both shoulder straps at all times to evenly distribute weight and provide more stability. A backpack should sit between the base of the neck and the lower back, and straps should be tight to prevent sagging.

With some extra diligence, you can help avoid preventable injuries this school year.