When we hear the word “backpack”, we typically picture school-aged children walking to class. However, the truth of the matter is that people of all ages use backpacks every day, whether it be a child walking to school, a man about to venture out on a hike or a woman heading to the gym. So, whether you’re choosing a backpack for yourself or one for your child, there are a few facts that you should be aware of when it comes to backpack safety.
Wearing a backpack incorrectly can cause countless health issues to children and adults alike, including muscle strains, muscle spasms and back, shoulder and neck pains. In fact, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, at least 14,000 children are treated for backpack-related injuries every year. In order to reduce injuries caused by incorrectly wearing backpacks, follow these tips:
Wear Both Straps:
When wearing only one strap of a backpack, all the weight of the bag is placed on a single side of the body. Because of this, you or your child may start leaning to one side to offset that extra weight. Wearing your backpack over one shoulder only can ultimately lead to back pains, shoulder strains and poor posture. Both straps should be used at all times.
Lighten Your Load:
A simple way to prevent injuries caused by backpacks is to ensure that the weight of the pack isn’t too heavy. Be sure to keep the load at about 10-15% or less of you or your child’s bodyweight. Stay organized and carry only the items that are needed for that day. Additionally, if your child starts to struggle tremendously with their heavy books, you may consider buying them two sets of books – one for school and one for home.
Wear the Backpack Over the Strongest Back Muscles:
It’s important to notice where the backpack is positioned on you or your child’s back. The backpack should rest directly in the middle of the back where the strongest back muscles are located. Be sure to adjust shoulder straps so that you or your child can easily remove the backpack. The straps should not be too tight or too loose. This will ensure complete movement of the arms.
Use the Waist Strap:
When choosing which backpack is right for you or your child, consider one that comes with a waist strap. Waist straps help take some of the weight off of the shoulders and redistribute it to the back and waist. When using a waist strap correctly, the contents of the bag are held closer to you back. This will help the wearer maintain balance and prevent slouching.
So, the next time you put on your backpack, remember these backpack safety tips! And always wear two straps - not just one!