The start of school is here already in some parts of the country and should be in full swing throughout the U.S. by next month. Returning to the classroom doesn't only mean sprinting for the school bus each weekday morning, it also is setting the stage for many kids to again be carrying dangerously overloaded backpacks this fall. As a matter of fact, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), in 2012 more than 9,500 kids ages 5-18 years old were treated in hospitals and doctors' offices for injuries related to those heavy bags of books weighting down their necks, shoulders, and backs.
It's a good thing the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) and the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America (POSNA) have some important advice to help parents ensure your kids can focus on learning, rather than being distracted because they're suffering from unnecessary backpack-induced pain and injury.
|My kids when they were in elementary school, MommyBlogExpert.com|
AAOS & POSNA Backpack Safety Tips
- Carry no more than 15-20 percent of body weight in your backpack
- Use both shoulder straps to keep the weight of the backpack better distributed
- Adjust the shoulder straps to keep the load close to the back
- Remove or organize items if too heavy and pack the heavier things low, toward the center
- When lifting a backpack, bend at the knees
- School backpacks are for schoolwork so only carry items required for the day -- Whenever possible leave books at home or school
- At home and at school, keep walkways clear of backpacks to avoid tripping
- Encourage your child or teenager to tell you about numbness or tingling in the arms or legs which may indicate poor fit or too much weight being carried
- If the backpack seems too heavy for the child, have them remove some of the books and carry them in their arms to ease load on the back
- Purchase a backpack appropriate for the size of your child
- Watch your child put on or take off the backpack to see if it is a struggle
- Remind your child to stop at their locker throughout the day as time permits to drop off heavier books
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