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    4 Steps to Safe Backpack Use


    Whether it’s back to school time for your child, or you’re planning a long hike, check out these helpful tips to ensure you know how to safely wear a backpack and promote good posture and spinal health.

    Choose Right.

    • Choosing the right size backpack is the most important step to safe backpack use.
      • Tip: Bring a friend to help you measure your backpack properly.

    Pack Right.

    • The maximum weight of the loaded backpack should not exceed 15% of your body weight, so pack only what is needed.

    Lift Right

    • Face the pack – Bend at the knees – Use both hands and check the weight of the pack – Lift with the legs – Apply one shoulder strap and then the other.
      • Tip: Don’t sling the backpack onto one shoulder.

    Wear Right

    • Use both shoulder straps – snug, but not too tight.
      • Tip: When the backpack has a waist strap – use it.

    Frequently Asked Questions:

    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?
    If you are a child, alert a parent or guardian about your back pain. Pain is a signal to the body that something is wrong. Check the backpack safety steps above to see if you are following them correctly.
    I have too many books to carry. What should I do?
    Lighten your load by removing unnecessary items. Carry a heavy book or two under your arm, rather than in your pack.
    Content provided by the Deaconess Riley Children’s Services
    Sources: Backpack Safety America

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