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School Backpack Safety Tips

Summer has come and gone and school buses are back on the road, filled with kids and all their supplies. Loose notebooks and brown bag lunches are in the past. Nowadays, children of all ages = toting insulated water bottles, Chromebooks or laptops, and all their sports gear for afterschool athletics. It doesn’t take long for that mid-sized backpack to be a major load to carry.

National School Backpack Awareness Day is September 21, 2022! This means that your injury prevention experts at MCR Chiropractic are here to help raise awareness of backpack-related injuries and equip you with tips and solutions that will help your kids start the school year off right!

Prevent Injuries from Backpacks

Did you know that more than 14,000 children in the U.S. are treated for injuries caused by backpacks each year? Chances are, there are many, many more students who endure pain from their backpacks that goes left unrecognized and untreated.

Some of the common complaints include:

There various safety tips that your child can follow in order to go through their school year without backpack issues.

6 Backpack Safety Tips

Pick the Right Style & Size

There are certain features to focus on when selecting the right backpack. Oversized backpacks may result in overpacking; therefore it is important for the backpack to be in proportion to the size of the child. Broad padded adjustable shoulder straps help disperse the weight evenly. To help distribute the weight of the backpack more uniformly across the body, use a waist belt or chest strap.

Pick It Up the Safe Way

Since backpacks are picked up throughout the day at school, body mechanics training is especially important. Children should bend at the knees to reduce the strain and stress on the back when picking up their bags. Rather than making one clean swoop from floor to shoulder, encourage them to lift the backpack to a counter or desk. Then from there, they can position the bad onto one shoulder, then the other before securing it in place, snug against the body. Lastly, they can keep the heaviest portion of the backpack above the waistline by pulling the straps tightly.

Wear correctly

It’s crucial to use both shoulder straps and keep the backpack in the middle of your back, which helps your balance and posture stay centered.  Using only one strap can cause unnecessary muscle strain on the neck, shoulder, and entire back.

Pack with Care

Contrary to popular belief, there is a right way to pack a backpack. Pack the heaviest items toward the bottom of the bag, closest to the rear of the backpack. Why? Because this places the heaviest items (textbooks and laptops closest to the body, resting in the curve of the child’s low back). Those pockets are there for a reason; be sure to take advantage of them in order to spread the weight across the backpack.

Don’t Pack Too Heavy

Do you know why you should stick your child’s bag on the scale before they head out the door? About 70% of children are carrying a backpack heavy enough to cause long-term back problems. It should not go above 15% of a child’s body weight, otherwise, injuries may occur. Therefore, be sure to measure the weight of your kid’s backpack to ensure it isn’t too heavy.

Unpack Often

Encourage your child to take advantage of their locker. Once they get to school, they should pack away the items from their backpack that they do not need right away. If they can visit their locker halfway through the day to swap out items from their locker and backpack, that means they can eliminate half the load of their bag. Your child should also be diligent about cleaning out their backpack at the end of each week to cut down on the clutter that can accumulate.

Practice Good Habits to Reduce Injuries

Practicing good lifting techniques and recognizing healthy back habits for your child can help reduce the risk of injuries. Your chiropractor is your family’s partner in health and is a great resource when aches or pains occur.

MCR Chiropractic can help if your child is experiencing pain or injury that could be due to backpack use. Our chiropractors will evaluate your child’s injury and recommend a treatment plan to reduce pain, improve mobility, and teach them techniques to keep them safe throughout the school year!

Schedule an evaluation with your nearest MCR Chiropractic location by filling out the form below