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BACKPACK Advice from the Pros

By Jackie Burrell
Wednesday, August 12th, 2009 at 11:09 am in Health & Safety.

backpack Shopping for a new backpack for your kids? Here’s advice from Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital occupational therapist Michelle Merget: “If a backpack is overloaded or not loaded properly, children can develop pain in their shoulders, neck and back. So this school year, we’re advising families to be extra careful when helping their kids pack all those books, computers, lunches, changes of clothes and sometimes even sports equipment.”

  • Picking the Backpack: Go for a lightweight pack that hangs no more than two inches below the shoulder and four inches below the waist. Make sure it has two thick, padded shoulder straps. Extra padding across the back can help cushion the load.
  • Watch the Weight: Even older kids should refrain from carrying a 25 lb. fully loaded pack, and no child should carry more than 15% of his body weight. “Parents need to take everything out from the previous day,” says Merget, “and repack, being certain that heavy items are on the bottom and lighter items are on the top.”

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