Carrying a backpack can be a pain in the neck … and shoulders and lower back. Make sure your children know the proper way to carry their pack, and the appropriate weight limit for its contents. Carrying a backpack that is too heavy can cause chronic back pain. Teach your child these tips for backpack safety:
- Keep your straps tight, so your pack is closer to your body. If a pack hangs too low, it will cause shoulder strain.
- Get a pack with padded straps to avoid straps that will dig into your shoulders and interfere with your circulation.
- Load the heaviest items at the back of your pack, so they are closer to your body.
- A pack with hip and chest belts can help distribute some of the pack’s weight.
- Use your locker or desk to store books, rather than lugging everything in your pack.
- Bend at the knees and grab your pack with both hands to pick it up safely.
If you notice your child leaning forward while carrying their pack, or complaining of pain or numbness, take action to lighten their load and help prevent injury.