Backpack Safety for Back to School

backpackIt’s back to school season it’s time to clean out those backpacks to make room for the new school year! 

Sure, you may have some items that should have been thrown out from the previous school year, but now, you need to make room for those new books and supplies to get you through the next school year.

Did you know that according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, injuries from heavy backpacks result in more than 7,000 emergency room visits per year? Sprains, strains, and “overuse” injuries were among the top complaints.

Safety Tips

OSS would like to offer some basic safety tips for you:

  • Your backpack should weigh only 15% – 20% of your total weight
  • Backpack straps should be wide and padded
  • Make sure the backpack has two shoulder straps
  • The backpack should have a padded back
  • Adjust the bottom of a full backpack and make sure it is not more than four inches below your waistline.
  • Consider using a rolling backpack, an air backpack or a light-weight backpack
  • Periodically check the contents and weight of your backpack; you may be amazed at the amount of unneeded items you are carrying

Prevent injury when using a backpack, do the following:

  • Use both shoulder straps to keep the weight of the backpack better distributed
  • Tighten the straps to keep the load closer to the back
  • Organize items and pack heavier things low and towards the center
  • Remove items if the backpack is too heavy and only carry items necessary for the day
  • Lift properly by bending at the knees when picking up a backpack

Here’s a great tip from Dr. Shapiro, “Take the time to lift your kids backpack. What could they leave behind to lighten their heavy load?”

If you believe you are suffering from a backpack-related injury and need specialized orthopedic care, Orthopedic Specialists of Seattle provide excellent treatment options available for you.  Please feel free to contact OSS at (206) 633-8100 to schedule an appointment.