Backpack SafetyOctober 9, 2019
This tip of the week comes from Mount Sinai Children’s Environmental Health Center. Have you ever wondered if your child’s backpack weighs too much? Read below for four tips on backpack safety.
1. Mechanics Matter
Body mechanics are an integral part of backpack safety. Teach school-age children how to properly pick-up their school bag by bending their knees to lift rather than bending their bodies forward. Combined with selecting backpacks of appropriate fit, design, and weight, this measure can prevent musculoskeletal soreness and injuries in the neck, shoulders, and back
2. Watch the Weight
Bigger is not better – the larger the bag, the more you will likely put in it. According to ergonomics and occupational therapy experts, a backpack should weigh no more than 10 percent of a person’s body weight. To ensure a healthy backpack to body ratio, weigh the backpack on a scale. When loading a backpack, place the heaviest items closest to the back and the lightest items on the outside.
3. Position Precisely
Try it before you buy it. Like shoes, backpacks need to fit comfortably to the individual. When wearing, make sure the height of the backpack sits 2 inches below the shoulder blades to slightly above waist level. If your child or student has challenges putting on or taking off the backpack or has red marks from the straps, this indicates the weight of the backpack requires attention.
4. Steady Those Straps
Backpacks should have well-padded and broad shoulder straps. To balance the weight evenly, wear straps on both shoulders. Hip or chest belts can be used to take the strain off the neck and shoulder muscles, offering assistance with body balance. Once filled, adjust backpacks starting with the shoulder straps and then the chest strap and hip belt.
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