This is a busy time of year, as parents get ready for the upcoming school year. Class supplies, haircuts, and new shoes are priorities when getting kids ready for the new school year. But it should also be a time when parents and students brush up on the importance of backpack safety. An estimated 6,000 students are sent to emergency rooms each year due to backpack related injuries. Oftentimes these injuries could be avoided if the child’s pack fit properly. Visit us at your local elementary open house or safety night (read below to see where we’ll be) and we’ll get you child’s pack fitted properly.
Following are some important tips from the APTA on backpack safety:
1 – Wear both straps
Use of one strap causes one side of the body to bear the weight of the backpack. By wearing two shoulder straps, the weight of the backpack is better distributed.
Wear the backpack over the strongest mid-back muscles
2 – Pay close attention to the way the backpack is positioned on the back
It should rest evenly in the middle of the back. Shoulder straps should be adjusted to allow the child to put on and take off the backpack without difficulty and allow free movement of the arms. Straps should not be too loose, and the backpack should not extend below the low back.
3 – Lighten the load
Keep the load at 10-15% or less of the child’s bodyweight. Carry only those items that are required for the day. Organize the contents of the backpack by placing the heaviest items closest to the back. Some students have two sets of books so as not to have to carry the heavy books to and from school.
Feel free to stop by any of our clinics, at any time, with your child and their backpack and one of our therapists can show you the proper way to fit your child’s backpack.