Backpack Safety

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KIMT News 3  – Some students are wrapping up their first week of school and they may already be loaded down with homework and textbooks.

As kids head back to school, the bag they choose to carry all their belongings is a big deal. With so many choices out there, it’s not only important to pick the best-looking one, but a bag that’s going to help protect students from some unwanted pain and soreness.

Sixth grader Olivia Staudt knows exactly what she’s looking for when it comes to back to school shopping.

She said, Make sure it doesn’t hurt your shoulders and stuff and has lots of pockets.”

These days it seems students are departing from the classic backpack. That’s because they don’t have much to carry.

Staudt said, “Just my computer and some homework.”

Olivia says she says she can’t really remember the last time she had to carry a heavy book home.

And that spells good news for young backs, shoulders, and hips.

Physical Therapist, Brenda Hawk said, “The rule of thumb for weight limit is the backpack should not weigh more than 10-15% of your child’s body weight.”

Hawk says carrying heavy loads for long periods of time can take a toll.

She said, “It leads to imbalances and asymmetry, so you’ll end up with muscles tighter on one side and stretched out on the other side. You can end up walking with more weight on one hip more than the other.”

But luckily, some students are getting to forego the textbook in exchange for an iPad or computer. It’s a one stop shop for everything they need.

Hawk said, “They’re realizing now that this can be a problem and finding solutions to it. I don’t see as many problems as I did maybe from 5 years ago.”

If you haven’t already bought a backpack for the year, make sure the bag has two straps and a little extra padding also never hurts.

Then make sure your child wears it nice and high on their back. That, plus a lighter load will help protect those young growing bodies.

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