UK Extension – What to look for in a backpack?

More than 79 million students across the United States cram in textbooks, binders, notebook computers, pencils, pens, erasers, craft supplies, lunches, and extra clothes for gym class and make the trek to school. Researchers have reported seeing backpacks that weigh more than 40 percent of a child’s weight. Just imagine a child weighing 60 pounds carrying a backpack weighing 24 pounds.

Research suggests that wearing a backpack incorrectly, wearing one that is too heavy, the amount of time one carries a backpack, the distance walked, inadequate distribution of weight in the backpack, and poor placement of items in the backpack can be contributing risk factors for discomfort, fatigue, muscle soreness, musculoskeletal pain (especially in the lower back), respiratory problems, and other issues. The low back pain often lasts through adulthood.

If a person is complaining of neck, shoulder, or back discomfort associated with wearing a backpack, it can be a sign that there is a problem.

If you show signs of any of these symptoms, it’s best to see if the weight of the backpack can be reduced, the amount of time wearing the backpack can be reduced, or the distance carrying the backpack can be reduced.

    • Tip #1
      • Backpack should  fit between shoulders and waist
    • Tip #2
      • Find a bag with padded straps & padded back panel
    • Tip #3
      • Find a bag with chest & hip straps
    • Tip #4
      • Your bag should weigh no more than 10% of your body weight
    • Tip #5
      • Plan ahead and carry only what you need

It is a safety issue when a name is on a backpack. For example, a stranger could approach a child and call him or her by name if it appears on the backpack. It’s best to be proactive and avoid putting a child’s name on a backpack.

 

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