With Lockers Off Limits, Backpack Safety is Vital

As children head back into the classroom, many schools have banned locker use in an effort to keep students socially distanced. That means kids are carrying their backpacks throughout the entire school day. If too heavy, that could lead to back pain and other issues.

In the video below, Dr. Bryce Basques, a fellowship-trained spine surgeon at University Orthopedics, shared some valuable tips recently on how you can help ensure your children don’t end up injured.

Loading a Pack

  • A child’s backpack should weigh no more than about 10% of his or her body weight. For example, a student weighing 100 pounds should carry a backpack heavier than 10 pounds.
  • Make sure to load the heaviest items closest to the child’s back (the back of the pack) and use pockets and compartments to make sure weight is evenly distributed.
  • Only carry items that are necessary.
  • Carry some items outside the pack if the backpack is too heavy.

Wearing a Pack

  • Use both straps. This ensures weight is distributed evenly. Wearing a pack slung over one shoulder can cause a child to lean to one side, curving the spine and causing pain or discomfort.
  • Backpack should have well-padded shoulder straps to prevent too much pressure on blood vessels and nerves which can cause pain and tingling in the neck, arms, and hands.
  • Adjust the shoulder straps so that the pack fits snugly on the child’s back. A pack that hangs loosely from the back can pull the child backward and strain muscles.
  • Wear the waist belt if the backpack has one. This helps distribute the pack’s weight more evenly.
  • The bottom of the pack should rest in the curve of the lower back. It should never rest more than four inches below the child’s waistline.
  • School backpacks come in different sizes for different ages. Choose the right size pack for your child as well as one with enough room for necessary school items.