General Tips
Backpack Safety
Category : General Tips
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Backpacks are a popular and practical way for children and teenagers to carry schoolbooks and supplies. When used correctly, backpacks can be a good way to carry the necessities of the school day. They are designed to distribute the weight of the load among some of the body?s strongest muscles.

However backpacks that are too heavy or are worn incorrectly can cause problems for children and teenagers. Improperly used backpacks may injure muscles and joints. This can lead to severe back, neck, and shoulder pain, as well as posture problems. Share these guidelines to help your family use backpacks safely.

Choosing the right backpack. Look for the following:

> Wide, padded shoulder straps - Narrow straps can dig into shoulders. This can cause pain and restrict circulation.
> Padded back - A padded back protects against sharp edges on objects inside the pack and increases comfort.

To prevent injury when using a backpack, do the following:

> Pack light. The backpack should never weigh more than 10 to 20 percent of the student`s body weight.
> Always use both shoulder straps. Slingling a backpack over one shoulder can strain muscles. Wearing a backpack    on one shoulder may increase curvature of the spine.
> Organise the backpack to use all of its compartments. Pack heavier items closest to the centre of the back.
> Use a rolling backpack. This type of backpack may be a good choice for students who must tote a heavy load.    Remember that rolling backpacks still must be carried upstairs. They may be difficult to roll in snow. 

Parents also can help in the following ways:

> Encourage your child or teenager to tell you about pain or discomfort that may be caused by a heavy backpack.
> Consider buying a second set of textbooks for your student to keep at home.
> Do not ignore any back pain in child or teenager. Ask your paediatrician for advice.