With the heavy load of books that kids have to carry around in school, it is no wonder that backpack safety is becoming more of an issue.
Because muscles are still forming throughout childhood, it is important to choose a school backpack that will carry the weight of the books rather than put stress on your child’s back. Here are 5 things to look for when choosing a backpack:
A backpack should be as light as possible while still being durable. Experts recommend that students carry no more than 10 to 15 percent of their body weight on their backs. Keeping the weight down helps reduce the chance of injury and muscle pain.
Buying backpacks with wide straps helps to even out the weight and avoids the straps digging into your child’s shoulders. Padded, wide straps are considered ideal.
An overly-heavy backpack can affect a child’s balance, increasing his or her chances of falling. Buying a backpack with compartments is a good way to distribute the weight. Many backpacks offer compartments in the middle as well as on either side of the bags. So look for a backpack that has large compartments and pockets close to the body and smaller compartments on the outer areas.
While it may look like a good idea to get the biggest possible backpack to allow for the most items, a smaller backpack may be a better choice. With extra space, students may be tempted to stick all kinds of things in their backpacks and not bother to take out non-essential items that add weight. Try to choose the smallest backpack that is still practical and meets your child’s needs.
5. Wear It Correctly
When selecting a backpack, choose one that fits easily over both shoulders and is easy for your child to get on and off both arms. Make sure your child wears their backpack as designed – with both straps on the shoulders.
Older teens will sometimes sling the backpack over one shoulder. While this may be convenient for them, it is bad for their posture as well as shoulder and neck muscles. The weight will be unevenly distributed and can strain the neck and shoulder muscles if worn in this manner.
A backpack is likely one of the first back-to-school accessories you’ll buy for your child. Keep these safety tips in mind to help you find the right backpack for your child to enjoy throughout the school year.