Is Your Child's Backpack Too Heavy?
Wrong ......................... and Right Ways to Carry It
According to the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), improper backpack use can cause injuries to children who use harmful postures such as arching the back, leaning forward or to one side in an effort to cope with a heavy load.
So how do you know if your child’s backpack is overloaded? Use this chart to determine the maximum recommended weight (15 percent of your child's body weight). Then check out the following tips for selecting and safely using a backpack.
Tips for Safe Backpack Use
Wear both straps. Using only one strap, even with backpacks that have one strap that runs across the body, causes one shoulder to bear the weight of the bag and posture to become asymetrical.
Make sure the backpack fits. The size of the backpack should match the size of the child. Shoulder straps should fit comfortably on the shoulder and under the arms, so that the arms can move freely. The bottom of the pack should rest in the contour of the lower back. The pack should "sit" evenly in the middle of the back, not "sag down" toward the buttocks.
Things to Look for When Selecting a Backpack
A padded back to reduce pressure and prevent the pack's contents from digging into the child's back;
Padded, contoured shoulder straps top reduce pressure on the chest and shoulders.
A waist belt to help distribute some of the load to the pelvis.
Compression straps on the sides or bottom of the backpack that, when tightened, compress the contents of the backpack and stabilize the articles.
Reflective material so that the child is visible to drivers at night.
Read more about selecting and using a backpack, and the signs that a backpack is too heavy at apta.org.
Backpack page content and images provided courtesy of APTA. Used with permission.