It is almost time for kids to return to school. Many parents will be doing their back-to-school shopping over the next 2-3 weeks. Backpacks are a common way for kids to carry their supplies, but it is important that parents choose the right backpacks for their children. It’s also important to know how to wear them properly in order to avoid injury to muscles and joints. Here are some basic suggestions to consider:
1. Choose a lightweight backpack so that a full backpack will not exceed 15% of the child’s body weight.
2. Multiple compartments will help to distribute the weight evenly.
3. Shoulder straps should be wide and padded to distribute weight evenly.
4. Get a backpack that has a waist belt that will distribute weight more evenly and reduce pressure on the back.
5. Be sure to organize the backpack where the heavier items are lower and closer to the center of the pack.
6. Be sure to make the child use both straps.
7. Teach the child how to lift their backpack properly by bending the knees.
8. Talk to the school’s administration and fellow parents about implementing policies to lighten the loads that are carried. One suggestion is to alternate which books are carried home on specific days. Consider purchasing a second set of books to keep at home if needed.
These wonderful tips and suggestions are brought to you by our Physical Therapist, Matt Kellar.