Play It Forward Therapy

Essential Backpack Safety Tips

There’s one easy way to take a load of stress off of your student! Did you know that Occupational therapists are experts in ergonomics and promoting healthy habits to make daily routines easier? Keep on reading to learn how to help your child practice backpack safety. It might seem like a small detail, but ensuring that your child carries their backpack correctly can have a big impact on their physical health.

Lighten the Load

It’s a golden rule that the weight of the backpack should not exceed 10% of your child’s weight. Trust us, abiding by this can prevent unpleasant incidents like falls and soreness of the back, neck and shoulders.

Pack it Right

Choosing a backpack should be a fun family activity where children learn to shoulder the responsibility for their physical health.

So, where to start? Here’s a simple rule – heaviest items should find a spot closer to the back center of the backpack, followed by mid-weight and then lighter items towards the front. And oh, sharp items should always be kept away from the back to avoid injuries.

Pro Tip:

  • Utilize the different compartments and pockets of the backpack to distribute the weight evenly. Avoid overstuffing your backpack with unnecessary items.

Lifting the Backpack

Teach your child the safe way to pick up their backpack to prevent back injuries. The secret? Bending and lifting in the knees instead of the waist. It’s a small change but can make a world of difference in protecting their growing bodies.

Wearing it Right

Once the backpack is packed and organized, it’s time to put it on safely. Encourage your child to always use both shoulder straps to evenly distribute the weight and prevent injuries. Securing the hip belt and adjusting the sternum strap will also go a long way in ensuring the backpack rests snugly against the back.

Adjust and Carry

Keep in mind that it’s crucial to regularly monitor how comfortable your child is while carrying the backpack. Always keep an eye out for warning signs that indicate the backpack is too heavy, such as difficulty in putting it on or taking it off, pain, tingling, numbness, red strap marks on the shoulders, or any change in the side-to-side posture while wearing it.

Backpack safety is indeed a family affair! It’s a simple way to help secure your child’s physical health and nurture their sense of responsibility. 

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