September 23rd was National School Backpack Awareness Day. As part of our ongoing community out reach program, Reddy-Care Physical Therapy provided hundreds of APTA Backpack Strategy sheets to parents and students in the Great Neck area. We are also reaching out to area schools to provide ergonomic instruction and backpack safety education. If you are interested in bringing these important programs to your school, please contact us at 516-829-0030. Here are a few helpful tips to keep you or your child safe from harm throughout the school year!
Wear both straps:
Use of one strap causes one side of the body to bear the weight of the backpack. By wearing two shoulder straps, the weight of the backpack is better distributed.
Wear the backpack over the strongest mid-back muscles:
Pay close attention to the way the backpack is positioned on the back. It should rest evenly in the middle of the back. Shoulder straps should be adjusted to allow the child to put on and take off the backpack without difficulty and allow free movement of the arms. Straps should not be too loose, and the backpack should not extend below the low back.
Lighten the load:
Keep the load at 10-15% or less of the child’s bodyweight. Carry only those items that are required for the day. Organize the contents of the backpack by placing the heaviest items closest to the back. Some students have two sets of books so as not to have to carry the heavy books to and from school.
How a Physical Therapist Can Help:
A physical therapist can help you choose a proper backpack and fit it specifically to your child. Children come in all shapes and sizes, and some have physical limitations that require special adaptations. Additionally, a physical therapist can help improve posture problems, correct muscle imbalances, and treat pain that can result from improper backpack use. Physical therapists can also design individualized fitness programs to help children get strong and stay strong—and carry their own loads!
To consult a physical therapist about an ergonomic evaluation regarding backpacks, computer use, or other related issues call Reddy-Care Physical Therapy at 516-829-0030