by Allie Leach
With school looming just around the corner for lots of kids (ugh!) and parents (woo!), above is a semi-helpful diagram of how to properly wear a backpack (in case you were wondering) and below are some anal retentive tips on backpack safety from Dr. Colin Wilson's Health Talk:
1. A properly fitted pack should include;
* well padded shoulder straps — The shoulder straps should be at least 2 inches wide and should not fit too snugly around the arms, straining muscles and affecting nerves.
* a significant waist strap — a hip strap or waist belt can take as much as 50-70% of the weight off the shoulders and spine. The waist belt will equalize the strain on the bones, joints and muscles.
* compression straps to keep the pack tight together — on the side of the pack they help to keep a less full pack from shifting weight backwards and away from the body.
* sized to fit the torso of the person or child wearing it — The top of the backpack should not extend higher than the top of the shoulder and the bottom should not fall below the top of the hipbone.
2. Properly weighted pack should be;
* packed so heavy items are close to the body
* no more than 15% of body weight for teens & adults and 10% for children
* filled with lots of compartments to keep contents from moving around while walking
3. Properly worn a pack should;
* have heavy items close to the body helps keep the weight close to the body’s center of gravity
* be worn with BOTH shoulder straps — slinging a pack on one side causes strain and a lean to the child wearing the pack
* be put on with the pack on a table or desk — helps from straining the low back twisting to put on the pack
For more breaking news on backpack safety, read here.