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:
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.