Happy Backpack Awareness Day 2021
September 15th is Backpack Awareness Day! The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) started National School Backpack Awareness Day to provide education on the importance of backpack safety. It has been celebrated on the third Wednesday of September since 2002!
Celebrate Backpack Awareness Day by becoming aware of the weight of your and your child’s backpack, purses, suitcases, or briefcases to prevent injuries to the neck, back, and shoulders. When weighed, make sure that bags weigh no more than 10% of a person’s body weight, as heavy bags can cause falls and spinal damage. Check out the below tips to ensure safe bag positioning and weight for your child:
- Pack It: Use all compartments and pockets to distribute weight evenly. Place heavier items closer to the back center and lighter items towards the front of the backpack.
- Put It On: Teach your child to pick up their backpack by bending at the knees instead of at the waist to avoid injury.
- Adjust & Carry: Use both shoulder straps while carrying a back pack, adjust the sternum strap, secure the hip belt. Make sure the backpack straps do not extend past your child’s shoulders or below the top of the hip bones.
- Watch for warning signs that your child’s backpack is too heavy including:
- Difficulty taking backpack on and off
- Pain while wearing backpack
- Tingling or numbness in your child’s arms or legs
- Redness or strap marks on the front of shoulders
- Changes in side to side posture while wearing backpack
Check out this fun activity you can do with your kids to teach them how to safely pack their backpacks: Packing Activity
If you have any questions about your child’s backpack, please reach out to their occupational therapist!
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