Six Safety Tips You Need To Know Before Your Child or You Strap on a Backpack

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Cute grade school girl with backpack smiles in front of the school bus on the first day of school.

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Most children rely on backpacks to carry books and supplies to and from school and activities. But a backpack that’s too heavy or doesn’t fit right can cause harm. For example, children can hurt themselves if their posture is poor while carrying a backpack. Even adults can hurt themselves if they are not careful.

The following six safety tips will help to keep you safe:

  • Pack light. The backpack should be at a comfortable weight. Weigh it on a scale. When full, it shouldn’t equal more than 10 percent to 20 percent of your child’s body weight.
  • Only carry what’s needed.Make sure your child knows not to carry a whole day’s books and supplies at once. Tell him or her to make trips to his or her locker during the day.
  • Use care when putting on and taking off the backpack.Your child should avoid twisting too much. When picking up a heavy backpack, your child should bend at the knees, not at the waist.
  • Use both straps on both shoulders.This is to help spread the weight and promote good posture. Tell your child not to sling both straps over one shoulder. This throws posture off-balance. It can even lead to a curved spine.
  • Position the backpack evenly in the middle of the back.The backpack should sit two inches above the waist.
  • Tighten and loosen the straps as needed.The straps should be snug when your child is wearing the pack. This will help to hold the pack firmly to the body. He or she should then loosen the straps before removing the pack. This will make it easier to take off.

 Visit the Saint Peter’s Better Health Library to learn more about backpack safety.

 

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