Tips for Backpack Safety
With another school year now underway, students are once again lugging their backpacks around, filled with heavy textbooks and a multitude of school supplies. Here are some safety tips to remember for this school year.
Is it Too Heavy?
A heavy backpack is a "typical" problem students can face on a daily basis. But if you, your child, or student has visible trouble while wearing a book bag, it's most likely too heavy or overloaded.
Some warnings signs of a heavy packpack include:
- Struggling to put on or take off the backpack
- Pain when wearing it
- Tingling or numbness
- Red marks on shoulders
- Noticeable changes in posture
The Right Way to Wear a Backpack
Aside from lightening the load by removing unnecessary items, one of the most effective ways to compensate for a heavy backpack is to wear it the right way.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons suggests:
- Distribute weight of the backpack evenly.
- Use both shoulder straps and wear the pack close to the mid-back.
- Use a backpack with wide, padded straps and a padded back.
- When loading and unloading the backpack, place it on a waist-high platform (such as a desk) using your legs with a straight spine to lower the load.
- Do not let the backpack's weight exceed 20 percent of your child’s body weight.
- Consider using a hip strap for heavier weights.
- Try to make frequent trips to a locker to replace books between classes.
- Consider purchasing a backpack with wheels.
- Purchase a second set of books for home.
Buying the Right Backpack
If you or your child's backpack doesn’t have proper support or comfort, it's probably time to look into buying a new one.
Here are some things to keep in mind when shopping:
- A padded back is recommended to reduce pressure on the back and enhance comfort.
- Hip and chest belt are highly recommended when the load is heavy.
- Two contoured and padded shoulder straps reduce pressure on the shoulders and permit free movement of the arms.
- Multiple compartments not only enhance access to the contents, but they better distribute the weight in the backpack and keep items secure.
Have a Great School Year!
By following these tips and properly using the correct backpack, you can help ensure a safer and more pain-free school year.