Back to school is such an exciting time for kids and parents! Kids are decked out with new clothes and a backpack full of new school supplies. But did you know those cute, new backpacks can cause injuries when not used properly? I was shocked to find out that in 2012, over 9,500 kids ages 5-18 were seen in doctor’s offices and emergency rooms for injuries related to backpacks.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) and the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America (POSNA) have put together a list of safety tips for backpack users – kids and adults alike. We hope you find it helpful.
BACKPACK SAFETY TIPS
- Kids should carry no more than 15-20 percent of their body weight. For example, a 50# kid should have a backpack that weighs no more than 10 pounds.
- Use both shoulder straps to keep the weight of the backpack more evenly distributed. Tighten the shoulder straps to keep the load close to the back.
- Remove or organize items if too heavy and pack the heavier things low and towards the center.
- Bend at the knees to lift a backpack.
- School backpacks are for schoolwork. Carry only those items that are required for the day; if possible, leave books at home or school.
- Keep walkways clear of backpacks to avoid tripping both at home and school.
Parents also can help with backpack-related pain:
- Encourage your child to tell you about numbness or tingling in the arms or legs which may indicate poor fit or too much weight being carried.
- If the backpack is too heavy for the child, remove some of the books and have him/her carry them in their arms to ease load on the back.
- Purchase a backpack appropriate for the size of your child.
- Watch your child put on or take off the backpack to see if it is a struggle.
- Encourage your child to stop at their locker throughout the day as time permits to drop off heavier books.
This was not a paid post. My own opinions were used based on my perceptions and experience.