LUBBOCK, TX -
Wednesday September 20th is National School Backpack Awareness Day. This occurs on the third Wednesday of September every year in order to help raise awareness on the impact that heavy bags and backpacks can have on your child's back.
"Backpacks come in different shapes and different sizes for the different sizes and shapes of kids. You want it to fit between the shoulder and the waist. A backpack should not go 4 inches below the waist. You want padding on the back of the backpack and you want good padding on the shoulders."
Alison Chapa, an Occupational Therapist at Covenant also recommends that the backpack should only hold 10% of the weight of your child.
"So an example, if a child weighs 100 pounds, the backpack should not weigh more than 10 pounds."
If your child is carrying more than 20% of their weight on their back, studies have shown that it can cause a multitude of health issues.
"It's very common just to sling it over one shoulder, it pulls all the weight to one side, it can lead over time to back and spine issues. Teenage kids are more prone for scoliosis anyways so adding that extra weight, at a pivotal time for your spine development, is not a good idea."
Therefore, it is very important to pick a backpack size that matches your child and to make sure to remind your kids to carry their backpacks on both shoulders and to wear them tight to the body. Also look for a backpack with compartments to help distribute the weight and make sure to keep heavier items closest to your child's back.
Alison also recommended purchasing backpacks with a chest clip or a hip clip to help distribute the weight more evenly. For more information, you can visit The American Occupational Therapy Association's website at www.aota.org/backpack.