Kids, Lighten Your Load

Backpack safety tips for back-to-school time

Although snails carry their houses on their backs, children shouldn’t. These days, backpacks serve as a catch-all for school supplies, a lunch box, water bottles and electronic devices. Throw in a few heavy books, and your child might be toting too much. Nearly one-third of the more than 28,000 people treated for backpack-related injuries in 2013 were ages 5–18, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

A child with a bleeding disorder should have an extra set of books at home, if possible. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) and the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America recommend the following backpack tips:

•    Don’t sling the backpack over one shoulder, but use both straps and adjust them evenly.

•    Distribute the heavy items low and near the center.

•    Bend from the knees when lifting backpacks.

•    Keep backpacks off the floor, to prevent tripping.