Back to School: Backpack Safety

Backpacks have become a must have for back to school. Students use their backpacks to carry an overabundance of books, papers, smart phones, video games, sports equipment and more. With so many different designs on the market, choosing the right backpack sometimes becomes a challenge, but it’s an important decision. A properly fitted backpack can prevent the development of aches and pains in the future.

Consider these backpack safety tips:
  • Adjust the straps so that the backpack rests evenly in the middle of the back and the bottom of the bag lies at the waist or belt level. 
  • Adjust the straps to allow free movement of the arms. (It should be easy to get the backpack on and off.) 
  • Position the straps so the weight of the backpack is more evenly distributed. 
  • Do not allow the weight of the backpack to exceed 10 to 15 percent of the individual’s body weight. 
  • Carry only those items needed for the day.
  • Keep the heaviest items closest to the back.
If you still need help, a physical therapist can help choose the correct backpack and also fit it to specific body types and sizes. Additionally, a physical therapist can help to improve posture problems, correct muscle imbalances and treat pain that can result from ill-fitting and improperly used backpacks. 
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