Posted by: Pamela Kalivas | September 11, 2011

Back To School: BackPack Ergonomics

Improper Backpack Use

Ergonomics isn’t only about adults in their offices. As kids head back to school, wearing their back packs; take a moment to review these tips for healthy backpack practices to reduce the stress on their back, neck and shoulders at the beginning of the school year.

First, do not allow your child to overload their backpack. Acceptable Guidelines range from 10-15 percent of the child’s body weight. So if your child weighs 50 lbs. the backpack should weight between 5-7.5 lbs. Second, Design is important. Lighter is better, matching the size to the user with wide padded shoulders straps and a padded back and lumbar cushion. This design will distribute the load evenly, increasing comfort and avoiding compression of the nerves in the shoulder. Third, pack the backpack with the heavier items closest to the center and use all the compartments to help distribute the weight evenly. Fourth, instruct your child how to wear the backpack properly. Make sure they use both shoulder straps and adjust the shoulder straps so they fit smoothly and use the waist strap to avoid having the backpack rest more than 4 inches below the waist.

Talking to your child about Backpack Ergonomics avoids stress on their bodies now and later. A recent study showed that nearly 8 out of 10 middle school students who changed how they loaded and wore their backpacks reported less pain and strain to their backs, necks, and shoulders. Giving them more energy to do the things they enjoy!

~Pamela

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