To help kids prevent injury when using a backpack take the following things into consideration:
The weight of the backpack. Your child will suffer from too heavy a backpack no matter how great the backpack is, and how they wear it. No matter the design of the backpack, if there is too much in it, it can cause damage. So, keep the magic number of 15% in mind. The most your child should ever have in their backpack is 15% of their body weight. If your child’s pack exceeds this, you are looking for trouble. So do the math. If your kid weighs 100 pounds, do not ever let their backpack exceed 15 pounds. This can be difficult today with the sheer amount of text books and homework they may be assigned, but stick to your guns, and talk to their teacher about it if the load seems to be too much.
The backpack design. Many backpacks are available, and some are cooler than others. The fact is that most kids want to look cool, and could care less about whether or not the backpack they choose is going to be good for their back. A pack that has one strap, an over the chest sling, or anything other than two straps will not distribute the weight evenly, and can cause harm.
A good backpack should be worn properly.
How the backpack is worn. A backpack should be worn properly. It should have both shoulder straps, and these should be wide straps so they do not cut into the muscles above the shoulder. In addition, they should be tightened to the right height. The backpack should sit about two inches above the waist for the best weight distribution. A great way to ensure this is to use a waist and chest strap. This will keep the bag where it ought to be, and not strain muscles or ruin posture.
Beyond choosing a good backpack, and wearing it right, there is more kids can do to ensure backpack safety, so talk to your child about doing the following things to improve their backpack safety:
1. Use their locker frequently. While it is convenient to carry everything around it is also heavy, so use your locker.
2. Don’t take extras. Some kids take video games, ipods, cell phones, laptops, etc. in their backpack, which just adds to the weight. Leave those things home, and you do not have to lug them around all day.
3. Keep up on homework so that your child is not needing to take home tons of stuff on the same nights. Usually homework is spread out a little better, and thus they only have a heavy backpack because they are procrastinating.
4. Use all the backpack compartments. This will help to spread the weight out, and keep it from putting too much pressure or weight on any one muscle or limb.
5. Put heavier items in the center of the backpack for better weight distribution.