Avoid Back to School Back Trouble


As millions of school children head back to the classroom, one ubiquitous sight is the backpack. While it seems that a backpack is simply a great way to haul books and supplies around, it can actually cause strain and pain to your child's growing body. There is a right way to wear a backpack that will protect your child's health and safety. Go over these important safety tips with your child.

Choose the right backpack
Your pack should fit well down your entire back. It should not rest on your hips or fall too low on your back. It should have adjustable, padded straps that are at least two inches wide and have padding in the back area. Also be sure to choose a pack that is appropriate for the amount of items that will be carried. If you will be walking or riding a bike after dark with your backpack, find one that has reflective stripes to increase visibility.

Pack your backpack correctly
Your backpack should not be filled to more than 15 percent of your body weight. Pack only what is needed and clean out your backpack once a week to remove any unneeded items. If you find that you are leaning forward when you are walking with your backpack on, it is probably too heavy. It is better to carry a couple of heavy books under your arm than to overload your backpack.

Place your backpack correctly
To place the backpack correctly on your back, first stand facing the pack. Bend at your knees and, using both hands, lift with your legs. Adjust your pack onto one shoulder and then the other. Your backpack should never be carried over only one shoulder.

Wear your backpack correctly
To place the backpack correctly on your back, first stand facing the pack. Bend at your knees and, using both hands, lift with your legs. Adjust your pack onto one shoulder and then the other. Your backpack should never be carried over only one shoulder.

Wear your backpack correctly
Your shoulder straps should be snug but not too tight. If you have a waist strap, use it. If you feel strain in your shoulders or back, your pack may be placed incorrectly on your back, the straps may need adjusting, or your pack may be too heavily loaded. The shoulder straps should distribute the weight of the pack evenly between your shoulders.

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EBM