Wearing a Backpack Correctly
Jessica Glenbocki

12 Tips to help your child wear a backpack correctly

Wearing a Backpack Correctly
Jessica Glenbocki

12 Tips to help your child wear a backpack correctly

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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 backpacks 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 a Backpack Correctly

  1. A child’s backpack should weigh no more than about 10% of his or her body weight. This means a child weighing 100 pounds shouldn’t wear a loaded school backpack heavier than 10 pounds.
  2. Load heaviest items closest to the child’s back (the back of the pack).
  3. Arrange books and materials so they won’t slide around in the backpack.
  4. Check what your child carries to school and brings home. Make sure the items are necessary for the day’s activities.
  5. If the backpack is too heavy or tightly packed, your child can hand carry a book or other item outside the pack.
  6. 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 a Backpack Correctly

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Adjust the shoulder straps so that the pack fits snugly on the child’s back. A pack that hangs loosely from the back can pull the child backward and strain muscles.
  4. Wear the waist belt if the backpack has one. This helps distribute the pack’s weight more evenly.
  5. The bottom of the pack should rest in the curve of the lower back. It should never rest more than four inches below the child’s waistline.
  6. School backpacks come in different sizes for different ages. Choose the right size pack for your child as well as one with enough room for necessary school items.

 

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About the Author

I am an occupational therapist with 12 years of experience working with children of all ages and diagnoses. I graduated from Cleveland State University with a Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy. After working in the field for a number of years, I obtained my certification in sensory integration. I currently work with school-based children in a virtual setting, focusing on fine motor, visual motor, self-help and sensory processing skills. I am also pursuing my Doctorate of Occupational Therapy through Shawnee State University’s on-line program. My pediatric experience includes working with children of all ages in various settings such as hospital based out-patient clinic, private out-patient clinic, early intervention, and school-based; brick and mortar and virtual schools. It is my hope to help educate and provide you with the tools to allow your child to reach their greatest potential. Treatment approaches focus on play and client/child centered interventions. My passion is helping children and families live their lives to the fullest!

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  3. Specialists to help answer questions on specific child development topics 

 

Sign up now and we’ll send you details about the program and how to participate.

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