Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Backpack Safety

Backpack Safety

Parents, teachers, school administrators and health care specialists are concerned about the issue of children’s health and safety with their backpacks. Children are hunched forward like peasants as they lug their books to and from school and between classes. Students are carrying 20 to 40 pounds in many cases, so this concern is legitimate. Common sense tells us that a heavy load distributed improperly or unevenly, repeated day after day, is indeed going to cause stress to a growing spinal column. "As the twig is bent, so grows the tree." There is a growing awareness of this problem globally as evidenced by media coverage from network television to syndicated newspaper columns such as Dear Abby. The backpack is not the cause of the problem. Children simply haven’t been shown or taught proper methods of packing, lifting and carrying their backpacks. The problem stems from a lack of focused information delivered to students, parents, teachers and school administrators. The solution can be found in a comprehensive educational program aimed at young people from kindergarten through 8th grade, supported and endorsed by parents, teachers, school administrators and health care providers.


Can backpacks cause long-term back problems?
Backpacks themselves can do no damage. Using them improperly can.

My back and neck hurt after wearing my backpack. What should I do?
You should let your parents know about the pain you feel. Pain is a signal from your body telling you something is wrong. You should consult your family chiropractor or other health care practitioner immediately.

Is there a backpack that is safer to wear?
Most backpacks are safe to wear if they’re worn properly and you follow the backpack safety guidelines. However, there are some that are specially designed to distribute the weight load safely and with less stress on your growing spine. Check out ClearSafetyBags.com for a backpack that may be right for you.

How can we get the Backpack Safety America program for our school?
You can do this several ways. First, check our participating doctors listing for a doctor in your area. You can contact the doctor directly from there. You can also contact your local doctor of chiropractic and ask her/him to bring the program to your school. Finally, you can contact Backpack Safety America and ask them to help you locate a doctor of chiropractic in your area.

How much weight should I put in my backpack?
A maximum of 15 percent of your body weight is what should go into your backpack. That means if your body weight is 80 pounds, you should carry 12 pounds or less in your backpack.

I have too many books to carry. What should I do?
Lighten your load by removing any unnecessary items. Carry a heavy book or two under your arm.

Do I have to wear both shoulder straps and the waist strap?
Yes, because the shoulder straps help you distribute the weight evenly between your shoulders and the waist strap helps to stabilize the load, preventing possible injury during movement.

by Courtesy Backpack Safety America www.backpacksafe.com

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