Health + Fitness Newsletter
B A C K P A C K S A F E T Y B A C K P A C K S T R A T E G I E S F O R P A R E N T S A N D S T U D E N T S
WEARING THE BACKPACK: • Distribute weight evenly by using both straps. Wearing a pack slung over one shoulder can cause a child to lean to one side, curving the spine and causing pain or discomfort. • Select a pack with well-padded shoulder straps. Shoulders and necks have many blood vessels and nerves that can cause pain and tingling in the neck, arms, and hands when too much pressure is applied. • Adjust the shoulder straps so that the pack fits snugly on the child’s back. Apack thathangs loosely from thebackcanpull thechildbackwardsand strain muscles. • Wearthewaistbelt ifthebackpackhasone.Thishelpsdistributethepack’s weight more evenly. • Thebottomof thepackshouldrest in thecurveof the lowerback. Itshould never rest more than four inches below the child’s waistline. • School backpacks come in different sizes for different ages. Choose the rightsizepack foryourchildaswellasonewithenoughroom fornecessary school items.
Aching backs and shoulders? Tingling arms? Weakened muscles? Stooped posture?Doesyourchildhave thesesymptomsafterwearingaheavyschool backpack? Carrying too much weight in a pack or wearing it the wrong way can lead to pain and strain. Parents can take steps to help children load and wear backpacks the correct way to avoid health problems. LOADING THE BACKPACK: • A child’s backpack should weigh no more than about 10% of his or her body weight. This means a student weighing 100 pounds shouldn’t wear a loaded school backpack heavier than about 10 pounds.
• Load heaviest items closest to the child’s back (the back of the pack).
• Arrange books and materials so they won’t slide around in the backpack.
• Check what your child carries to school and brings home. Make sure the items are necessary for the day’s activities. • If the backpack is too heavy or tightly packed, your child can hand carry a book or other item outside the pack. • If the backpack is too heavy on a regular basis, consider using a book bag on wheels if your child’s school allows it.
• Only put items in your backpack that you need for the day.
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