Backpack Safety

Georgia Agganis DNP, RN, CPNP

Hello parents! Now that our children are back to school it is important to be mindful about the type of backpacks they are using! When selecting a backpack, choose one that has wide, padded shoulder straps. Narrow straps can cause pain and restrict blood circulation.

Be wary of backpacks with only one strap, they do not distribute weight evenly, so choose backpacks with two supportive straps. In addition, backpacks with a waist strap can help in distributing weight. To prevent injury, always use both shoulder straps and the waist strap. Tighten the pack so it is close to the body.

The backpack should not be more than 10 to 20 % of the student’s body weight.

Organize the pack placing heavier items closest to the center of the backpack. Instruct your children to bend with both knees when they bend down wearing their backpack and not to bend over at the waist.

Also keep in mind that injuries do not only occur from the weight of the backpack. A large percentage of injuries occur when a child trips over a backpack.

Puncture wounds can also occur from pencils and other sharp objects. Remember to help and teach your child to pack sharp objects appropriately.

Wishing you all a healthy and safe year!

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