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National School Backpack Awareness Day

National School Backpack Awareness Day on September 18, strives to make sure students wear backpacks safely. Improper use can lead to back pain or injury, which can impact learning. On this day, teachers, students and parents come together to make sure families are aware of the risks — and that backpacks are being worn properly. It’s for the children. (

3 Tips For Wearing A Backpack Safely

1. Use both straps

Slinging your backpack on one shoulder can lead to bad posture, and injury or pain.

2. Adjust the height

Backpacks should be worn high on your back; they should sit an inch or two above your hips.

3. Use the waist and chest strap

The horizontal straps help distribute the weight and keep your load stable as you move.

Have you ever noticed that growing up most of us were bent over from the waist, due to the heavy backpacks that we carried around? We complained of back pains, neck pain, shoulder pain but we were told it was because we were lazy. Ok I am talking about what I was told growing up by adults, not my parents let me clarify hahaha.

Wearing a heavy backpack over time leads to serious chronic back pain and injury. Even carrying a heavy bag around for a short period of time can cause significant health problems. In fact, related injuries sent over 2,000 students to hospitals and emergency rooms in just one year, and 85 percent of university students self-report pain and strain in their necks, backs, and shoulders.

National Backpack Awareness Day is an opportunity to talk about this common issue. It’s relevant to all students, but especially highlights the importance of occupational therapists, who often help patients recover these injuries and other activities of daily living. The American Occupational Therapy Association sponsors the annual event.

With more than 79 million U.S. students wearing backpacks at any given time, the potential for injury is huge. The good news is that the problem can be easily solved with awareness and a few recommendations:

a) A loaded backpack should not weigh more than 10 percent of the student’s total body weight.

b) The backpack should extend from two inches below the shoulder blades to slightly above the waist.

c) Students should wear the backpack on both shoulders for even weight distribution.

Let’s face it: You wouldn’t haul around a heavy backpack if you didn’t have to, and all that stuff has to go somewhere. ( Please take extra care when loading up our children for school.

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