August Tips of the Month: Backpack
are designed to distribute weight evenly across the body. When
used correctly, backpacks can be a good way to carry school
necessities. However, improperly worn backpacks, or backpacks
that are too heavy can cause problems and may injure muscles and
joints. This can lead to severe back, neck and shoulder pain, as
well as posture problems.
Signs that the backpack
is too heavy:
Struggling to get the
backpack off and on.
Red marks on the
Changes in posture --
leaning forward to the side or arching the back.
Complaints of pain when
wearing the backpack.
and/or tingling of the upper extremities.
Choose the right backpack:
Two wide padded straps
that go over the shoulders.
Padded waist or chest
belt to distribute weight more evenly across the body.
to distribute the weight of the load. Width not greater than
the child's torso.
Lightweight backpack --
the backpack itself should not add much weight to the load.
Rolling backpack --
this type may be good for students who carry heavy loads.
Remember they must be carried upstairs. Check with the
school regarding their policy on rolling backpacks.
Padded back to reduce
pressure on the back -- a padded back protects against sharp
edges on objects and increases comfort.
Use the backpack
properly to prevent injury:
Use both straps, firmly
tightened, to hold the pack no lower than waist level.
Limit backpack use to
Place the heaviest
items in the pack close to the back. Distribute items in all
The backpack should
weigh less than 10-15% of a student's total body weight and
never more than 20% of the student's weight.
Use correct lifting
techniques. Bend both knees when picking up a backpack and
never bend over at the waist when wearing or lifting a