National Backpack Awareness Day

 

Backpack Awareness DayStudent backpacks are synonymous with school and books, however, many parents are uninformed about the seriousness and long term effects of not using the backpack correctly or how to choose the right backpack in the first place.

Wednesday, September 21st, is National Backpack Awareness Day and its significance should not be taken lightly.  Parents should take careful note of the tips below to avoid potentially long lasting and serious injury to your kids.

Symptoms of backpacks that are too heavy or worn improperly:

– aching back and shoulders

– Tingling arms

– Weakened muscles

– Stooped posture

Facts:

-Students should only carry 10% of their body weight in their backpacks

-55% of students carry more than the recommended weight

-In a study of 11 to 15 year old American students, 64% reported back pain from backpacks

– Very important how the backpack is worn

Strategies:

Packing-

– Load heaviest items closest to back

– arrange so items don’t slide around

– hand carry bag if its too heavy

Wearing-

– Distribute weight evenly using both straps

– buy proper size backpack with well padded straps

– bottom of backpack should rest in curve of lower back

These strategies are especially important for students with decreased postural stability, muscle tone, strength and endurance related to sensory processing disorders.  Children with these concerns already struggle with the symptoms stated above and improperly worn or overly heavy backpacks can exacerbate the issues.  For more information regarding the proper selection and use of backpacks, visit a special section on the American Occupational Therapy Association website here.

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