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Gear Up for the New School Year – Tips for Backpack Safety

It’s fall and our kiddos are fully engaged in the new school year. Every school year begins with a new set of kicks, school supplies and clothing. Catherine added a new backpack to her list!

On her recent visit to grandparents this summer, we visited the local Vera Bradley shop where she found a bright, colored backpack and lunch box. In addition to it being fun and fashionable, we had to ensure her backpack was ergonomically appropriate for her.

backpack shopping

backpack shopping

We checked in with Wellness Coach/Personal Trainer Katy Adams at Outlaw FitCamp – McKinney for a few “safety” tips:

Katy Adams image

  1. Two Shoulders are Better than One Wear both shoulder straps. Make sure to tighten the straps to pull the backpack close to your body. The backpack should not hang low on your back. If there is a waist strap, wear it for more support. Wearing both straps on one shoulder is uneven weight and can cause the spine to curve.

two shoulders

  1. Stand Tall Practice proper posture when wearing your backpack. Head up, chest up, abs in and core tight to support your lower back. Leaning forward while wearing your back pack can adversely impact your lower back.
  2. Lift with your Legs Squat with abs tight and bend with your knees. Do not bend over at the waist when lifting your backpack. This is especially true if the backpack is heavy. Lifting a heavy item from the ground can cause issues with your lower back.lift with your legs
  3. Travel Light Avoid carrying excessive items in your backpack such as the cell phone, video games, laptops etc. Only take along the books that are needed. The backpack should not weigh more than 15% of your body weight. It is a good idea to weigh your backpack to ensure you are not weighted down. Improper weight can cause you to lean forward, thus creating the potential for shoulder, neck and back pain.

We hope these tips are helpful and we wish you a safe and fun school year!

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