Soon children, teens, and young adults will be returning to school with their backpacks. According to the U.S. Consumer Product and Safety Commission, there are about 20,000 visits to emergency rooms, doctors’ offices and clinics as a result of backpack-related injuries. The preventable injuries from backpacks range from neck, back, and shoulder strains to bruises and even fractures. The physical stress of a backpack can affect your child’s nervous system and overall well-being.
The most common signs that a backpack is too heavy include:
- Frequently changing position while carrying the backpack.
- Leaning forward to walk.
- Struggling to put on the backpack.
- Pain in any area before, during and after wearing a backpack.
- Tingling or numbness especially in the arms or hands.
- Red marks on the skin from the straps.
3 Things You Need to Do:
Pack Right. The maximum weight of the loaded backpack should not exceed 10% of body weight.
Tip: If the backpack forces the body to lean forward, it’s overloaded.
Lift Right. Face the pack, bend at the knees, use both hands, lift with the legs, apply one shoulder strap and then the other.
Tip: Don’t sling the backpack onto one shoulder.
Wear Right. Use both shoulder straps – snug, but not too tight.
Tip: Select a backpack with a chest strap and/or waist strap – and use it!