Ramblings of a New Mommy: US National School Backpack Awareness Day

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September 21st is US National School Backpack Awareness Day!

As a pediatric occupational therapist, I am always concerned about the well-being and safety of my clients. Every fall, in those first few weeks of school, I often find my kids carrying heavy packs slung across one shoulder as they hurriedly stagger into the clinic for their session.

Improper use of a backpack can lead to numerous ailments including fatigue, muscle soreness, numbness/tingling in the arms and hands, and back pain—which may all impact learning!

In this brief blog post, I offer 5 tips for proper loading and wear of a backpack.

  1. A child’s backpack should be no more than 10% of their total body weight (ex: if your child weighs 50 pounds, their backpack should be no heavier than 5 pounds).
  2. The heaviest items should be loaded closest to your child’s back when worn.
  3. Be sure you have chosen a pack with two wide, padded shoulder straps.
  4. Tighten the straps enough for the backpack to fit closely to the body. The pack should rest evenly in the middle of the back; the bottom of the pack should never rest more than four inches below the child’s waistline.
  5. Be sure the child uses both shoulder straps, rather than slung over the shoulder or across the chest, to be sure of even distribution.

Good luck this year, mamas!

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Bailey is a wife, mommy, and pediatric occupational therapist. She and her husband Tyler were married in the summer of 2012 and moved to Southeastern Idaho in February of 2014 shortly after Bailey graduated with her Master’s Degree. They welcomed their beautiful daughter, Arlo Mae, in September of 2021 after 6+ years of struggling with infertility. Bailey primarily works with pediatric patients as an occupational therapist and also serves as adjunct faculty at ISU. Bailey is a homebody and enjoys spending time with family, playing with her fur baby “Thorin,” collecting rocks and gems, drinking good coffee, and eating good food.

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