Backpack Safety

Backpacks are wonderful tools to help keep your children organized and aid them in carrying items to and from school. But if they are used or built improperly they can pose a number of health risks. Back pain and weakness in your child’s arms or hands can be a sign of a poorly designed backpack or improper backpacking technique.

Some things to consider when purchasing a backpack are:
• Select packs that have two wide shoulder straps, this will distribute the weight of the pack over a larger area reducing the pressure on your child’s shoulders.
• Select a pack that is made out of a lightweight material to cut down on the overall weight.
• Look for packs with padded backing to prevent your child from being poked by any of the contents of the pack such as pens or pencils.
• Packs that have waist belts also help distribute the weight of the pack more evenly.
• Multiple compartments will allow your child to remain more organized and aid in weight distribution in the pack.

Once you have selected the proper pack for your child, ensure they are using the pack properly to reduce the risk of any injuries that may result if the pack is used incorrectly. Some things to go over include:
• Proper packing of the pack – The pack should never be over filled. If your child has to lean forward to carry their pack then it is likely over filled. Try to place heavier items closer to the center of the back, this will help your child keep balanced.
• Proper lifting technique – Have your child bend at the knees facing their pack, grabbing it with both hands and then lift with their legs. This technique will greatly reduce stain on your child’s back.
• Ensure that your child is using both of the straps on their pack and that the straps are snug.
• Make sure that your child is not carrying around unnecessary items. They should only bring home the books they will need to help cut down on weight.

When used properly a backpack can be a very effective and safe way for your child to carry the items they need to and from school. Help your children develop healthy habits and techniques at a young age so that they may follow them throughout their lives.