We are officially BACK TO SCHOOL! Getting into the swing of things can be a pain! Literally! Students toting heavy backpacks busting at the seams with textbooks, folders, calculators, etc. is an all too familiar site around campuses nationwide. Overloaded backpacks can lead to shoulder, neck, and back pain, among other problems. Between 2010 and 2011, backpack injuries in kids aged 5 to 18 increased 6.5%, from 12,924 to 13,766, according the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
- Two wide shoulder straps with padding
- A padded back panel
- A hip belt for even weight distribution
- Reflective elements
- Multiple variable sized compartments
- Wheels and a pull handle
When filled, the backpack should weigh less than 10-15% of the child’s body weight. You can determine about how much 10%-15% feels like by simply weighing the backpack with contents on a bathroom scale. If the child weighs 80lbs, the backpack should weigh no more than 12lbs. To help lighten the load, remind your child to utilize his/her locker, do as much homework at school as possible (Holy Trinity offers Homework Room at the Lower School and Junior High Supervised Study at the Upper School), and unload any non-essentials. You can also find out if there are electronic versions of the textbooks he/she can use at home.
- Lift the backpack with one’s legs not one’s back.
- Position the backpack properly (wear both shoulder straps comfortably snug and secure the waist belt).
- Carry the backpack no more than 30 minutes at a time.
––Betty Schwind, RN and Liana Foster, RN
Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy
Do you have any other backpack safety tips?
Let us know in the comments below.