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Backpack Safety


As the school year is getting underway, students’ backpacks are beginning to be more utilized, filled with homework and textbooks. When backpacks are worn correctly, they distribute weight evenly. When the backpack is the wrong size and/or worn incorrectly, it can cause a strain to muscles and joints. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates there are more than 7,300 backpack-related injuries annually. These are injuries that can be prevented by having the correct backpack.

Choosing the correct sized backpack is the most important step. Find one that fits your child. It should rest evenly in the middle of the back. If it looks too big, it probably is. The bigger the bag, the more things it can hold. The backpack should only weigh 10-15% of your child’s body weight.

• Be sure to use both straps of your backpack. Utilizing only one strap, whether it feels better or looks better, causes an imbalance on one side. This can cause upper back pain and may strain the neck and shoulder muscles. Using both straps will distribute weight evenly. Even the bags that are designed to strap across the body cause strain from imbalance.

• Tighten the straps. Make sure the straps are not too loose. This allows the bag to hang lower and put more strain on the low back. Loosen straps when taking backpack off.

• When putting the backpack on, always bend at the knees and lift with the legs. Bending over puts more strain on the low back. Put one strap on at a time.

• Don’t carry around items you don’t need. Choose only items you need for the day. Organize contents in the backpack, utilizing any compartments available. Put the heaviest objects on the bottom.


Backpack SafetyTips for choosing a backpack

• Two wide, padded straps. Straps that are too narrow can dig in to the shoulders

• Waist and chest strap. This distributes weight more evenly.

• Multiple compartments. This distributes weight more evenly.

• Lightweight. Textbooks and the rest of your belongings weigh enough. Your

backpack shouldn’t add to it.


Dr. Patrick Trenary

Active Family Chiropractic

Mason City & Sheffield

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