BACKPACKSTRATEGIES FORPARENTS&STUDENTS NEWSLETTER Health & Wellness Newsletter September, 2019 Aching backs and shoulders? Tingling arms? Weakened muscles? Stooped posture? Does your child have these symptoms after wearing a heavy school 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. • 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. 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. • Adjust the shoulder straps so that the pack fits snugly on the child’s back. • Wear the waist belt if the backpack has one. This helps distribute the pack’s weight more evenly.
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