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Backpack Awareness Day: How to properly wear backpacks

Posted at 4:30 PM, Sep 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-26 16:30:00-04

MIDWAY, Fla. (WTXL) - If your child is complaining of pain in their back, neck or shoulders, you might want to take a look at their backpack. 

An improperly fitted or too-heavy backpack can cause serious injury. 

Wednesday is National Backpack Awareness Day and Mary Ellen Bailey, a faculty member at Kieser University's Occupational Therapy Assistant Program, says children and parents need to know the proper way to wear a backpack to avoid long-term muscular-skeletal problems.

Bailey says in 2007, 23,000 children went to the emergency room because of backpack injuries.

To make sure your child's backpack is the proper weight, first, weigh your child, then fill their backpack with what they carry to school and weigh that separately.

The backpack should not be more than 10 percent of the child's weight. 

If the backpack is too heavy it may cause problems. 

"The child will be complaining of back pain, low back pain, shoulder pain, neck pain," said Bailey. "Some children only wear the packs over one shoulder - that can cause a muscular skeletal imbalance and done over years that can cause scoliosis." 

Bailey says to make sure backpacks fit properly, load the heaviest books closest to the body. Get a backpack with front straps for extra support and make sure it isn't too big.

The bottom of the backpack should rest on the small of the back.