It’s more important than you might think. An improperly stuffed and worn backpack can do damage to your child’s neck, arm, joints, and back. But you can lighten their load by taking these steps:
- Keep the backpack to under10% of your child’s body weight. If there’s no way around a heavy backpack, consider placing it on rollers so you child can carry it more freely through their school campus.
- The heaviest items in your child’s backpack should be placed closest to their back. The contents should be packed firmly to restrict movement within the pack, and you should limit these contents to only the bare essentials and necessities.
- Backpacks should not be worn slung over one arm; this can cause irritation and damage to the spine. Make sure your child wear both straps of their backpack. In doing so, you should choose a backpack that fits them properly, and contains the necessary padding and support to protect their posture and joints.
In general, you should encourage your child to lift heavy objects by bending at the knees instead of relying on the strength of their backs. This also applies to their handling of backpacks. Also, in order to maintain a lightweight pack, your child should stop by their locker throughout the school day to trade out the books they no longer need.
Source: The American Occupational Therapy Association