School is in full swing and kids’ backpacks are full of textbooks, notebooks, folders, pencils, and more! Did you know that a backpack that is too heavy can cause many problems for kids? Problems like back and shoulder pain and poor posture are some of the most common ones. Backpack safety is so important when it comes to preventing these problems!

Here are three tips for backpack safety:

Wear both straps

When kids only use one strap it causes one side of the body to bear the entire weight of the backpack. Wearing both straps evenly distributes the weight of the backpack.

Wear the backpack over the strongest mid-back muscles

Close attention should be given to where the backpack is positioned on the back. Backpacks should not extend below the lower back, but rather rest evenly in the middle of the back. In order to ensure that the backpack is positioned correctly, adjust the straps so that they allow the child to easily put on and take off the backpack and allow free movement of the arms.

Lighten the load

Backpacks should weigh 10-15% or less of the child’s bodyweight. Students should only carry the items that are required for the day. Organizing the contents of the backpack can help, like placing heavier items close to the back.

How can a Physical Therapist help with backpack safety?

A Physical Therapist can help you choose a proper backpack and help fit it specifically to your child. Children sometimes have physical limitations that require special adaptations and a Physical Therapist can help with that as well!

Additionally, Physical Therapists can help address problems that may have arisen from improper backpack use. They can help improve posture problems, correct muscle imbalances, and treat the pain that comes with these. A Physical Therapist can even design individualized fitness programs that help children build their strength to carry their heavy loads.

For more tips about backpack safety click this link to watch a quick video: