Monday, August 1, 2016

Back to School: Backpack Safety

     August means back to school time. For our little Einsteins backpacks are necessary! Backpacks are a popular and practical for children carrying schoolbooks and supplies. The concern for children carrying backpack too heavy for their tiny frames has grown over the last few years. Medical experts say children should carry backpacks that weigh no more than 10-15% of their body weight. Backpacks are designed to distribute the weight of the load. When they are too heavy or worn incorrectly can cause problems for children and teenagers. Improperly used backpacks can cause injury to muscles or joints. This could lead to severe neck, shoulder, and back pain, as well as developing poor posture. When used correctly, backpacks can be a great way to carry the necessities of the school day.

WeightMaximum Load
23 kg / 50 lbs2.2 kg / 5 lbs
32 kg / 70 lbs3 kg / 7 lbs
40 kg / 90 lbs6 kg / 14 lbs
50 kg / 110 lbs7 kg / 16 lbs
59 kg / 130 lbs9 kg / 19 lbs
68 kg / 150 lbs10 kg / 22 lbs
77 kg / 170 lbs11 kg / 25 lbs
86 kg / 190 lbs13 kg / 28 lbs
Choosing the right backpack

     When choosing a backpack, look for one that is appropriate for the size of your child. In addition, look for some of the following features:
  • Wide, Padded Shoulder Straps
  • Choose the Correct Size; the bookbag should never be longer or wider than the child's torso
  • Two Shoulder Straps
  • Adjusting Shoulder Straps
  • Padded Back
  • Waist Strap
  • Lightweight Backpack
Injury Prevention

To prevent injury when using a backpack, do the following:
  • Always use both shoulder straps to keep the weight of the backpack better distributed across the child's back. 
  • Lift properly by bending at the knees when picking backpack up
  • Tighten the straps to keep the load closer to the back
  • Bag is sitting in middle of child's back
  • Organize the items: pack heavier things low and towards the center
  • Pack light, removing items if the backpack is too heavy. Carry only those items that are required for the day, and if possible, leave unnecessary books at home or school.
Tips for Parents
  • Watch you child put on or take off the backpack to see if it is a struggle. If the backpack seems too heavy, have the child remove some books and carry them in their arms to ease the load on the back. 
  • Do NOT ignore any back pain by child or teen
  • Encourage you child to wear their backpack on both shoulders
  • If your child has back pain that does not improve, consider buying a textbook to keep at home.