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It’s School Backpack Awareness Month, and as many moms prepare for the school year ahead, your child’s backpack is not something to take lightly. School backpacks come in different sizes for different ages. When used properly, most backpacks are a handy tool for kids. But not all backpacks are created equal. Those that are too heavy or worn incorrectly can cause:
What can moms do to practice safe backpack strategies? First, the backpack’s weight should be in proportion to your child’s body weight, and should be evenly distributed across your child’s body. Most healthcare professionals recommend that a child’s backpack should weight no more than 10-15 percent of his or her body weight. This means if your child weights 80 pounds, his or her backpack shouldn’t be heavier than about 8-12 pounds.
Here are some more safe backpacking tips to keep in mind:
You may need to adjust your child’s backpack and reduce the weight if he or she struggles to get the backpack on or off or leans forward to carry it. If your child has back pain or numbness or weakness in the arms or legs, talk with your doctor or physical therapist.
The American Occupational Association offers a handout that outlines Backpack Strategies for Parents and Students.
Learn more about rehabilitation services at Edward-Elmhurst Health.
Uzma Muneer, DO, is a pediatrician at Elmhurst Clinic.
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