The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends the following tips for backpack safety:
- Choose a backpack with wide, padded shoulder straps and a padded back.
- Ensure your child uses both shoulder straps, since slinging a backpack over one shoulder can strain muscles.
- Organize the contents to use all the compartments of the pack.
- Pack heavier items closest to the center of the back.
- The backpack should never weigh more than 10 to 20 percent of a child’s body weight (no more than four to 15 pounds at most).
- Adjust the pack high and make sure the bottom sits at your child’s waist. If you can’t adjust the straps to achieve this, the pack is too long; look for a pack made for a shorter torso.
- Pack light by helping your child remove unneeded items on a weekly basis.
- Consider a rolling backpack if the school allows. It’s a good option for older students who may tote heavier loads. Remember that rolling backpacks still might be carried upstairs and could be difficult to roll in snow.
Wearing a backpack the wrong way may lead to unnecessary discomfort or pain. Adjust the backpack for proper fit and positioning; not only will it be more comfortable but also easier to use.
Following these basic backpack safety tips will lead to a healthier lifestyle for school-age children and help avoid the backpack blues.
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