Back to School Time: Backpack Safety
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the Paediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America warn that wearing a backpack that is too heavy may cause injury. They provide the following tips:
- Carry no more than 15-20 percent of their body weight.
- Use both shoulder straps and adjust them to keep the load close to the back.
- Remove items if the backpack is too heavy and pack the heaviest things low and in the center.
- If possible, leave books at home or school instead of carrying them back and forth.
When choosing a backpack, look for one that is appropriate for the size of your child. In addition, look for some of the following features:
- Wide, padded shoulder straps
- Two shoulder straps (helps distribute weight)
- Padded back
- Waist strap
- Lightweight backpack
- Rolling backpack
The correct use of both of the wide, well-padded shoulder straps will help distribute the weight of the backpack.