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. In fact, a recent study found that the average backpack weighs about 14 pounds, or 15 percent of a middle school student's body weight.
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 back pain.
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.
- Avoid messenger style bags that can put unnecessary strain on the back, neck and shoulders, and over time, cause muscle imbalances and persistent back pain.