Here’s a back-to-school statistic we don’t like: Nearly 6,000 children are injured every year from wearing inappropriate backpacks.
“While it is important to have the necessary books, supplies and tools handy in your child’s backpack, you should also be sure that you are doing your best to prevent an injury,” says Linda Rhodes, senior occupational therapist at Children’s Hospital of Georgia. “As practical as they are, backpacks can strain muscles and joints and cause back pain if they are too heavy or used incorrectly.”
This is what to keep in mind when shopping for your child’s backpack:
—Choose the right size. A backpack should cover no more than 75 percent of the length of your child’s back— the space between the shoulder blades and waist.
—Make sure it’s the right kind. Backpacks should be lightweight with two wide padded shoulder straps and a padded back.
—Don’t overload it. A loaded backpack should not exceed 15 percent of your child’s body weight. Distribute the weight of the contents evenly. “If the backpack forces the child to lean forward to carry it, then it’s overloaded,” Rhodes says.
—Be sure it’s worn properly. Your child should use both shoulder straps when wearing the backpack.
Read more about backpack safety at BlackHealthMatters.Com.
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