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  • Dr. Megan Westbrook

"Back" to School - Backpack Saftey

It’s here! The first day of school is right around the corner. Parents and kids, alike, are excited to start the year off right. Everyone has a different school aspect they’re most excited about, but one of my favorite things to do growing up was go school supply shopping – the pens, binders, erasers, and most of all, backpacks! Backpacks are a great way of toting all of the awesome notebooks you just bought, but they can also get to the point where they may not be safe or healthy once all the schoolbooks are added. Improper use of a backpack can ultimately lead to shoulder, neck, and back pain in kids.

There are several ways to help make sure your kid’s backpack is being carried properly. Here are just a few tips:

  1. The weight of the pack should be no more than 10-15% of the child’s body weight. If your child is 80 pounds, the pack shouldn’t be heavier than 12 pounds!

  2. Make sure the backpack is being worn on BOTH shoulders. As cool as the one-shoulder carry may have been in the 90’s, I would say a healthy spine is more important. It would also be wise to find a bag that has wide, padded straps. This will prevent the shoulder straps from digging in.

  3. Make sure the straps are tightened as much as possible, so that the bag lies directly on the back and is not sitting too low. It should not be sagging near the buttocks. A waist belt that comes attached to the pack may help distribute the weight more evenly.

Try and encourage your student to utilize a locker as much as they can, and only bring home books and supplies they NEED. Also, make sure they’re not taking any unnecessary items to school with them, such as a laptop. This will help to unburden their spine from that heavy pack!

I hope everyone has a fantastic start to the school year! Feel free to stop by to have us check proper placement and strapping to ensure that your child's backpack is not causing unneeded stress.

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