Thousands of youngsters will be starting their new school year and one of the common accessories students have can also cause health problems if not used properly. It is the backpack. Each year, backpacks cause an estimated 7,000 injuries seen in emergency rooms. Creighton University offers the following tips to backpack users and parents on how to select backpacks, how to load them and how they should be worn. Remember the phrase ĒBack it Right. Wear it Right. Ē
- Pick the Right Backpack
- Match the size of the backpack to the size of the studentís back.
- Look for wide, well padded shoulder straps to help distribute the weight of the backpack.
- Loading a Backpack
- Donít carry more than 15 percent of your body weight. (40-pound child, donít exceed six pounds; 100-pound child, donít exceed 15 pounds).
- Load heaviest items closest to the studentís back (at the back of the pack).
- Plan ahead - donít carry what you donít need.
- Is the pack still too heavy? Hand carry a few items, or use a bag with rollers.
- Wearing a Backpack
- Wear both shoulder straps (one-shoulder slinging will cause the student to lean to one side putting excessive stress on the spine).
- Adjust the shoulder straps so they fit snuggly on the studentís back (loose packs pull the student backwards).
- Make sure the bottom of the backpack rests in the curve of the studentís lower back, not more than four inches below the waist.
For more information contact Creighton Pediatric Therapy at 402.932.3355.