Back to Backpacks: Backpack Safety Tips

Back to School season usually conjures up pictures of chatty children reuniting, the smell of brand new school supplies, and the fresh feeling of a new year. However, it also brings back the image that we see all too often: A small child with a large backpack.

Overloaded backpacks that aren’t worn or carried correctly can put an unnecessary strain on children’s backs. Take some weight off of your children’s shoulder this year with these quick tips:

1. Lessen the load: A backpack that is lighter when empty will also a be a backpack that is lighter when full of homework. Opt for lighter yet durable materials.

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2. Ditch the cool “off-the-shoulder” look: A messenger bag or a backpack worn only on one shoulder causes one shoulder to carry all of the weight. When the weight is distributed evenly on both shoulders, it helps with posture and control.

3. Find a close fit: The backpack your child is wearing should match them in size. The backpack should lay at the be at the bottom of the lower back and center of the back (not off the one side).

4. Extra straps are your friends: A waist belt distributes the weight of the backpack and compression straps stabilizes things in the backpack to create more control.

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5. Encourage your child to speak up about back pain: Pain, tinging in the arms, or red marks on the shoulders are all signs that your child’s backpack is causing discomfort and that you should swap it out or readjust it/its contents.

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