Choosing the right backpack for your child

September 5, 2008 5:37:56 PM PDT
Backpacks are a necessary part of your child's school gear. Helping them pick the right kind and knowing how to pack it, can save your kids from back injury. Parenting editor of Yahoo! Shine, Charlene Prince Birkeland, has some helpful tips.

When backpacks are carried improperly they can cause muscle or joint injuries which can lead to severe back, neck, and shoulder pain as well as posture problems. Parents should remember that they are designed to distribute the weight of the load among some of the body's strongest muscles.

What should you look for in a backpack?
When searching for a backpack for your child there are a few keys features you want to look out for.

  • Wide, padded shoulder straps
  • Two shoulder straps
  • Padded back
  • Waist strap (especially good for older kids as their bags get more heavy and full of books)
  • Lightweight backpack
  • Rolling backpack

    How should a child be carrying the backpack?

  • Encourage your student to always use both shoulder straps.
  • Keep the straps tight
  • Remove items that aren't necessary
  • Pack the bag light and keep it organized

    What are some key tips for parents to note on backpack safety?

  • Encourage your child or teenager to tell you about pain or discomfort that may be caused by a heavy backpack.
  • Do not ignore any back pain in a child or teenager.
  • Talk to the school about lightening the load.
  • Be sure the school allows students to stop at their lockers throughout the day. Team up with other parents to encourage changes.
  • Consider buying a second set of textbooks for your student to keep at home.

    For more information on choosing the best backpack:
    http://shine.yahoo.com/channel/parenting/how-to-help-your-kid-pick-the-best-school-backpack-242273/


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