September 18th is backpack awareness day. Are you or your child wearing a backpack correctly? Do you experience back or shoulder pain? Are your arms tingling? Do you have stooped posture? Are these symptoms present after wearing a heavy backpack? Too much weight loaded in a backpack can lead to pain and increased stress on the back and shoulders. Follow the steps below to ensure proper backpack wear and to decrease potential injury.
Pack it light!
- A backpack should not weigh more than 10% of the individuals body weight
- No more than 10 pounds loaded in the pack for someone weighing 100 pounds
- Pack the heaviest items closest to the body
- Make sure only necessary items are being carried to and from school to limit extra weight
- If the backpack is too heavy have the child carry a book outside of the pack
- Consider a backpack on wheels if the school allows it
Wear it right!
- Always use both straps to ensure weight is evenly distributed on both shoulders
- Choose a backpack with well padded straps to prevent excess pressure on the neck and shoulders
- Adjust the straps so the backpack fits snugly on the individual’s back
- The bottom of the pack should rest in the curve of the lower back, and should never rest more than four inches below the child’s waistline
- Choose the right sized backpack for the individual
If you would like more information on backpack wear contact Hegg Rehabilitation at 476-8080.