Protect your child’s spine by loading their backpack correctly and making sure they wear it right. Backpacks that are too heavy or worn incorrectly can result in an aching back and shoulders, tingling arms, weakened muscles, and stooped posture.
Remember- Pack It Light, Wear It Right!
Help protect your child’s spine by following these tips and packing their backpack right.
- Load heaviest books and materials at the rear of the backpack closest to the child’s spine.
- Arrange the load so that it does not shift around in the backpack.
- Clean out the backpack everyday to make sure only things that are needed that day are in the bag. Take the time to off load excess items to leave at home for safekeeping.
- The loaded backpack shouldn’t weigh more than 10% of your child’s body weight. For example a child who weighs 100 pounds shouldn’t carry more than 10 pounds.
- If the loaded backpack exceeds 15% of your child’s body weight have them hand carry some items or consider a rolling backpack.
Teach your child to wear their backpack right to protect their spine.
- First and foremost- choose the correct size backpack for your child. They come is a variety of sizes to properly fit kids of all ages.
- Shoulder straps should be adjusted so the pack fits tightly against the back. Both should be worn at all times.
- If there is a waist belt it should also be worn to support the weight of the backpack.
- The bottom of the pack should ideally rest in the small of the child’s back and never lower than four inches from the waist.
- All zippers and fasteners should be closed to keep the load as close to the spine as possible.
Remember the most important thing to remember when keeping your child’s spine safe and loading up the school backpack is to Pack it Light! Wear it Right!
Source: American Occupational Therapy Association