It’s important for parents to make safety a priority when shopping for school backpacks for their kids. About 6,000 children are injured each year from wearing an inappropriate backpack, according to a senior occupational therapist at Children’s Hospital of Georgia.
Here are some tips on how to select the best backpack for your child:
- • Get a backpack that is the right size for your child. It should cover no more than 75% of the length of your child’s back, which is approximately the space between the shoulder blades and waist.
- • Choose a lightweight pack that has two wide, padded shoulder straps and a padded back to protect kids from being poked by the sharp edges of pens, rules, and other items.
- • The maximum weight should not exceed 15% of child’s body weight. Be sure that the weight of the contents is distributed in the pack. Place heavy books closest to the child’s back.
- • Encourage your child to leave heavy books in their locker at school that they won’t necessarily need at home.
- • Make sure your child is lifting his/her backpack correctly. Your child should face the backpack and bend both knees when picking it up. They should use both hands and lift with their legs to avoid back injuries.
- • Is your child using both straps? It’s extremely important to distribute the weight of the backpack evenly across the back. Encourage your child to wear both straps. The straps should also be snug and not hanging low so the weight of pack is not pulling down on your child’s shoulders.
- • Put your child’s name on the outside of their pack.