The back-to-school season brings the fun of shopping for school supplies and the excitement of new classrooms, teachers, and friends. As you pick out backpacks and make plans for getting your children to school and filling after school hours, it’s also a great time to go over some important safety rules with your kids. University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital, the lead agency for Safe Kids Greater Cleveland, has some tips for families to make this school year a fun and safe one.
Gearing up safely
Backpacks that are too heavy or used improperly can cause injury to children and teenagers or lead to posture problems. Keeping some basic safety tips in mind as you choose your children’s backpacks and teach kids how to load them can prevent injuries, as well as nagging back and neck pain.
- Choose backpacks with wide, padded shoulder straps, since narrow straps can dig into shoulders and cause pain or restrict circulation. The backpack should have a padded back, which protects against sharp edges on objects inside the pack and increases comfort.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that a backpack should never weigh more than 10 to 20 percent of a student’s bodyweight. For a 70 pound child, for example, anything over 14 pounds would be too heavy, while a 100 pound child shouldn’t carry a backpack weighing over 20 pounds.
- Children should always use both shoulder straps, since carrying a backpack over one shoulder can strain muscles and may increase curvature of the spine.
Safe clothing choices for younger children