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Healthy Living

Have Your Child’s Back: Five Backpack Safety Tips

Aug 13 2018

Backpack safety tips for back-to-school

Back-to-school season is officially here, and many of us have trips planned to purchase school supplies. While filling a backpack with pens, laptops and books might be easy, getting kids to wear backpacks correctly is often another story.

Here are five easy reminders to ensure that your child is wearing his or her backpack properly, and to help avoid back, shoulder and spine problems:

  1. The weight of the backpack matters
    Making sure your child’s backpack isn’t filled to the brim with heavy items is important. While kids may feel like they need a million things, you can help them by prioritizing what they should take to school or bring home. The backpack is too heavy if it weighs more than 20 percent of your child’s body weight.
  2. Keep it centered
    Bookbags often contain one or two heavy items that weigh more than the rest. Having your child place heavier items in the center of the backpack can help keep everything in balance and promote correct posture.
  3. Use the locker
    While most kids have lockers, many don’t use them. Encourage your child to use his or her locker for items not needed right away. Because of breaks in between class periods, most kids have extra time to load, unload and re-prioritize for their next class.
  4. Two-shoulder strap rule
    If you were a child in the 90’s, you may remember when wearing a backpack on one shoulder was considered cool. While this may have been a fashion statement, the one-shoulder strap can cause back strain and improper posture. Wearing two straps will help keep your child’s body in proper alignment.
  5. Padding is helpful
    If you haven’t purchased your child’s backpack yet, purchasing one with wide, padded shoulders and
    padded backs is your best bet. This extra padding is not only more comfortable, but it can also reduce back pain.

Because kids don’t often speak up on their own, check in to ensure their backpacks are comfortable throughout the year. For more back to school tips, read about adjusting kids’ schedules for back to school.

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