The Weight of Education
That cool one-strap backpack look comes at a cost for students who are often carrying 20 to 30 lbs of school work on their backs. While medical professionals recommend that a backpack should never weigh more than 10% of a child’s weight, a study found that at least 55% of kids were carrying around more than the recommended weight.
In 2007, there were more than 2,000 backpack related injuries treated at hospitals. Due to the strain, many students begin to develop lower back pain that affects them into adulthood. 85% of university students surveyed in a study by Boston University, self reported back pain due to the weight of their bags. Thankfully, there are preventative measures that can be taken to ensure your child wears their backpack safely with less risk of back strain or injury.
Dress for Success
While you can’t always control what goes in to your child’s backpack, you can control how it is worn and packed to put the least strain on their back. The American Occupational Therapy Association recommends that when the backpack is packed, all big heavy items like text books should go closest to the back; Notebooks and items of a medium weight should go in the middle; and light items like pencils, eraser, and tissue should go in the front pockets.
Remind kids to lift their bags by bending their knees, not their backs. When they put it on it should at least be worn level with the shoulders, using both straps, and not below the hips. If the backpack is especially heavy, the sternum strap and waist belt should also be used to help distribute weight.
Don’t let homework weigh them down for the rest of their life. Practice safe backpack wear!!
All information was sourced from the American Occupational Therapy website. You can find more information here: http://www.aota.org/en/Conference-Events/Backpack-Safety-Awareness-Day/Handouts.aspx