September 16 is National Backpack Awareness Day

11 September

It’s back-to-school time and backpacks are being filled with supplies, homework, and books. The American Occupational Therapy Association has designated September 16 as “National School Backpack Awareness Day.” The concept of a backpack awareness day might sound odd. How hard is it to wear a backpack, anyway? However, Backpack Awareness Day exists to help educate parents, teachers, and school children about the injuries and back and neck problems that an overly-packed or improperly-worn backpack can cause a child.

Because school-age children’s bodies are constantly growing and developing, it’s very important to their future health and body development to make sure they get in good habits and don’t sustain injuries that will affect them into their adult lives. Since many kids wear backpacks every single day, it really does make sense to take a little time and to make a few adjustments that could have long-lasting benefits.

Here are a few tips and guidelines that can help ensure your child doesn’t suffer a backpack-related injury:
• In general, a child’s backpack should weigh no more than 10% of the child’s body weight. For an example, an 80 lb. child should never carry more than 8 lbs. in his backpack. If it becomes apparent that the child’s bag will consistently break the 10% rule, purchase a bag that has wheels and a handle so that it can be pulled.

•If available, make use of both the sternum strap and hip belt on the backpack
• Keep sharp items in the outer parts of the backpack, away from the back.
• Encourage your child to always wear her backpack using both straps instead of simply slinging it over one shoulder. Using both straps ensures that the weight will be distributed evenly on your child’s back.
• Load the heaviest items in your child’s backpack at the bottom to keep the majority of the weight on the strongest part of the back.
• Teach your child to pick up his backpack by bending and lifting at the knees.
• Encourage your child to keep the top of the backpack lined up with her soldiers. A “sagging” backpack is hard on the back and shoulders.

If your child is already complaining about back or neck pain when wearing his backpack, contact the expert chiropractors at ProHealth Chiropractic today and let us help.