Backpack safety

Proper Backpack Use and Safety

Below are the steps you should use to keep your spine in good health by properly shopping, choosing and using your school backpack:

STEP 1: Choose Right
Choosing the proper size and type of backpack is the first step to backpack safety.

Helpful Hint: Bring your parents or a friend to help you find the best backpack for you.

STEP 2: Pack It Right
The maximum weight of the backpack should be less than 10% of your body weight. Pack it in a way that it is comfortable and not over-filled. Pack just what you need for the day.  Just divide your body weight by 10, and keep it under that weight.

Helpful Hint:  If you have to lean forward to carry your backpack, It is overloaded. Take just what you really need.

STEP 3: Lift Properly
Face the Pack. Bend at the Knees. Wear both straps (and hip strap if one is provided).  Put straps on one shoulder at a time.

Helpful Hint:  Don’t swing the backpack to get the straps on your shoulders.

STEP 4: Wear It Right

Use both shoulder straps - snug, but not too tight. 

Don’t lean forward while using your backpack! That means your backpack is too heavy! Remember the 10 percent rule: If you weigh 130 pounds, your backpack should weigh no more than 13 pounds.

Helpful Hint: Don’t ever carry your backpack with just one shoulder strap (even for short distances). Carry it by the upper strap/handle (if it has one). Carry it like a suit case if you are just going a few yards.

SouthWest Orthopaedic Physical Therapy

(505) 292-3317 -1334 Wyoming NE – ABQ, NM 87112

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