4 Tips for Backpack SafetySeptember 20, 2016
By Jessica Vician
Did you know that your child’s backpack should weigh no more than 10 percent of his or her body weight? Think about that for a moment:
- A 50-pound child’s backpack should only be five pounds.
- An 80-pound child’s backpack should only be eight pounds.
- A 120-pound teen’s backpack should only be 12 pounds.
How heavy is your child’s backpack with all of those books, notebooks, and supplies?
September 21st is the American Occupational Therapy Association’s (AOTA) National School Backpack Awareness Day and a great opportunity for teachers and parents to ensure students are carrying the lightest loads possible and in the most efficient manner.
Here are four tips to packing and wearing a backpack to evenly distribute weight and prevent injuries:
- Pack the heaviest items to the back and center of the pack.
- Keep sharp tools away from your child’s back.
- Use both shoulder straps to evenly distribute the weight on your child’s back.
- Keep the straps tight so the backpack is even with your child’s shoulders on top and doesn’t droop below the hipbones on bottom.
Read through AOTA’s infographic for more backpack fitting tips.
If you notice your child has back pain, see his or her pediatrician or doctor. Bring the backpack to the appointment so the doctor can see how your child wears it and how heavy it is. If the backpack is more than 10 percent of your child’s body weight, talk to his or her teacher about bringing home fewer books each night.
How heavy is your child’s backpack? Weigh it on the scale and tell us in the comments below.