Back to school means back to potential heavy backpacks! Here are some things to consider when selecting your child’s school bag.
FIT: the bag should be proportional to your child's height and weight. Look at the bag-- It should be about the same width as the child's back and shoulders. For height, it should sit between the top of the shoulders and the top of the hips. Once all the items are in, the lowest part of the backpack should never hang more than 4 inches below the waistline. It may be “uncool” but make sure your child wears both shoulder straps. The straps should also be properly adjusted so they're snug but not too tight
POCKETS: To help distribute weight evenly, choose a backpack with several pockets rather than one large compartment. A divider allows your child to place heavier items -- such as binders, textbooks and a laptop -- closer to the body and supporting back muscles.
POSTURE: Wearing a backpack that's too heavy and/or poorly adjusted can lead to poor posture, neck pain, headaches, and muscle strain. Wearing a backpack on one shoulder or too high/ too low can lead to curvature of the spine, known as scoliosis. Also limit the amount of time your child wears the backpack. An example would be waiting for the bus. Have them set it on the ground while they wait.
Some final quick tips:
PACKING IT: The load in a backpack should not exceed 10% of an elementary student's body weight and 15% of a high school student's weight.
LIFTING IT: A child should place their backpack on a table or chair, bend at the knees and lift with the legs while putting on one shoulder strap at a time.
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