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4 Backpack Safety Tips

by Athletico1 Comment

September means back to school for most students, but it shouldn’t mean musculoskeletal pain or soreness from a heavy backpack.

Since National Backpack Safety Awareness Day falls in September every year, we are highlighting some backpack safety tips and posture exercises for students. Learn more by checking out the four tips below:

  1. Backpack Weight

Backpacks that are too heavy can contribute to back pain and falls in children. As a rule, a student’s backpack should not weigh more than 10 percent of his or her body weight. In order to decrease the weight, decide which supplies are necessary and leave others at home or school.

  1. Backpack Fit

The fit of the backpack may also contribute to overall posture issues and possible pain or injury. Parents should look for a backpack with padded shoulder straps and encourage children to make sure they wear both straps. The backpack should also have a hip or sternum belt to improve balance and reduce strain on upper back and shoulder muscles. The size of the backpack should run from about two inches below the top of the student’s shoulder blades to just above their waist. Don’t be afraid to try on different styles to ensure a proper fit.

  1. Know the Signs

In order to prevent injury before it occurs, parents and students should know the signs and symptoms of a backpack that is too heavy. A few signs to watch out for include pain while wearing, red marks on the skin, changes in posture, or numbness and tingling in the student’s arms or legs.

  1. Posture Exercises

Simple postural exercises can also be implemented to help students counteract pain that can occur as a result of heavy or ill-fitting backpacks. These exercises include:

  • Shoulder Blade Squeeze
    • This exercise can be performed by squeezing the shoulder blades together in standing or sitting position. When done correctly, the shoulder should pull back and the chest should open up. Repeating this exercise about 30 times once or twice a day will help to keep those muscles stimulated.

backpack safety shoulder blade squeeze stretchbackpack safety shoulder blade squeeze

  • Corner Chest Stretch
    • This stretch requires arms to be placed on the wall while the student stands upright in a corner. From there, the student can step forward into the corner until a stretch is felt across the front of their chest. Holding this pose for 30 seconds – five or more times a day – should help to counteract pain from heavy backpacks.

backpack safety corner chest stretchbackpack safety corner chest stretch 2


These simple safety tips will help support a happy, healthy school year for all students! If your child experiences painful symptoms or postural changes, stop by your nearest Athletico location for a complimentary injury screen.

Click to Schedule a Complimentary Injury Screen

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1 Comment

  1. Sara

    Great information! Just in time for homework season to be heating up. Trimming the backpack contents really helped. I used a supplies box and a home binder. Those hold a lot of things that the kids don’t really need to carry around daily. Thanks for the great info.

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