It's hard to believe, but "back to school" shopping season is upon us already! Kids will be loading up those backpacks and headed out the door in just a few weeks.
Those packs, however, are injuring thousands of kids every year.
In a recent study, the National Safety Council states there were more than 20,000 backpack-related injuries treated at hospitals and doctors office. A majority of those treated were school-aged children. Now, doctors and experts are working to help educate parents and kids on how to avoid becoming part of the growing numbers.
Picking the right backpack is a crucial part of any back-to-school shopping trip. While your kids may focus on the style, Karen Jacobs at Boston University says getting the right size should be the top priority, saying "It's very important that that back of the backpack be at the child's shoulder blades, and the bottom be at the child's hips." Packs that hang too low can cause back strain and sprains.
Over packing a bag is big problem, as well. Make sure you pack the heaviest items at the back of the bag first. In addition, the bag should never be more than 10% of your child's body weight.
Experts say parents should walk through packing their children's bag the first couple of times. When it comes to using the bag, doctors say using both straps is key, regardless of the popularity of "one-strapping it". Using both straps helps distribute the weight evenly, and helps avoid problems that can affect kids and grownups, later in life.
When shopping for a new bag, it's also important to take a look at the padding on the straps and on the back. Finally, if your bag has additional straps or belts on them, for the waist, chest, or otherwise, experts say to use them! They are designed to help take the strain off those sensitive muscles around the neck and back, and let your child focus on their first day back in class.