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Home >  Information A-ZAll Kids Information Articles > Kids Backpacks

Kids Backpacks:

Every year the workload on students increases, even on children in their earliest years of school. This means that, every year, the contents in a child’s backpack increase, adding more and more weight to these children’s backs. The problem with this is that the kids today aren’t really any stronger than they were when the workload was smaller. This means that little bodies have to carry way too much weight in their backpacks than they should, which can result in injuries. In fact, there are approximately 5,000 emergency room visits each year that are related in some way to backpack usage. Kids pick them up incorrectly, overload them, sling them over one shoulder, and more. Doing any of the above can cause injuries, or even lead to lifelong chronic pain. This is definitely something parents need to consider and try their best to prevent. Below are some tips to help parents prevent their children from injury related to backpacks:

• Pick the correct backpack—one of the best ways for a parent to prevent backpack injuries for their child is to pick the proper backpack in the first place. It is becoming more and more known that backpacks cause injuries among children, so there are more safe options to choose from that have just recently been developed. This can include backpacks with wheels, so the child doesn’t have to carry them very often, extra padding on the straps, and waist straps that tie around the child’s waist.

Teach proper usage—there are three important points you need to teach your child about backpack usage in order to be able to prevent injuries: picking up properly, holding properly and carrying properly. Children should know that it is important to bend at the knees when lifting it. When they are just holding the backpack, it should still be on their back and not slung over one arm. Children should also be taught to correctly carry the backpack by using both shoulder straps and using the waist strap so that the weight is dispersed more evenly. Slinging a backpack over one shoulder and having to compensate by leaning the entire body over the other direction is not good for a child’s developing spine. This also means that parents cannot assume that a backpack on wheels means a complete lack of problems and that they won’t have to worry about teaching their child proper carrying techniques. These backpacks still have to be carried onto buses, up stairs, etc, and they are often filled with even more weight than regular backpacks because the child doesn’t have to carry it as often. While a backpack on wheels is a good idea and can help eliminate the need for your child to carry it as often, you should still teach your child the proper carrying techniques and you should still take the precautions listed below.

Distribute the weight—one way to prevent injuries is to not have all the weight in the backpack lumped into one area. Use all pockets, including big, small and side pockets. This way, the weight is distributed for your child.

Watch out for weight—this is one of the biggest problems for children and their backpacks today. They have too much in them, which makes the backpack weigh more. it is important for parents to know that to keep their child safe from injury, the backpack must weigh no more than 15% of your child’s body weight, and, if possible, not even that much. If you can keep it under 10%, the risk of injury decreases dramatically. Know what your child has in their backpack (something parents should be aware of anyway) and take out unnecessary items. Weigh your child’s backpack to make sure that it falls within this safe weight.

While it may seem like these methods are excessive, the number of injuries to children every year simply from the incorrect or overweight usage of backpacks is staggering. You can easily avoid this situation with your child by following the tips above.

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