With summer coming to an end and September in full swing, it’s officially back to school time for most elementary and middle schools. It’s that time of year for back to school shopping for a new set of pencils, erasers, binder and of course the backpack to put them all in. Although it’s always hard for students to get moving again once the school year starts, make sure it’s just no their backpacks that are holding them down.
This Wednesday, September 16th marks The American Occupational Therapy Association National School Backpack Awareness Day. The awareness comes from helping students understand proper backpack use to keep them healthy throughout the school year. “Educating students and parents is key to preventing musculoskeletal conditions that can last into adulthood,” (1).
It is reported, “more than 79 million students in the United States carry school backpacks,” (2). That’s a lot of backpacks! Unfortunately, of those 79 million students, over half are carrying backpacks that are too heavy for them. “About 55% of students carry a backpack that is heavier than the recommended guideline of 10% of the student’s total body weight,” (2). With improper backpack use stem underlying strains, sprains, dislocations and fractures from backpacks that are reported on a year-to-year basis from physician’s office to emergency rooms.
Here are a few tips to share with your child to keep their physical health in tip-top shape!
Loading the Backpack:
Wearing the Backpack:
The best way to hold your child accountable for proper backpack weight is to clean their backpack out at least once a week. It will help monitor what they are bringing to and home from school, making sure the items they are transporting are necessary. Ultimately, it’s an early way for children to take an early responsibility for their physical health. However, if the backpack is monitored and back pain persists, than a medical professional should evaluate your child for additional pain.
Pack it Light, Wear it Right!