As an occupational therapist, one of the areas of my training is ergonomics. While many people know about ergonomics in terms of work stations and offices, one of the ways that it can impact our students is how they wear their backpacks. Here are some tips for how to size, pack and carry a backpack safely. All of this information is from the American Occupational Therapy Association and the referenced resources are listed below.
Size and Weight
-A packed bag should be no more than 10% of a student’s body weight.
-The size of a backpack should be from 2 inches below the shoulder blades to about waist level.
-A backpack should never hang lower than a student’s waistline.
Packing and Positioning
-Pack the items closer to the students back so that the bag does not pull off of his or her back
-Ensure that the straps are adjusted so that the bag does not hang too loosely
-Make sure your student isn’t carrying unnecessary things back and forth
-When putting on the backpack, put straps on both shoulders to distribute weight evenly
-If your backpack has a waist belt- wear it!
-Consider a rolling backpack.
-Check in with your student to make sure that his or her backpack is comfortable!