Gaynor Participating in National Backpack Awareness Day

Posted on Thursday, September 13th, 2018

It seems straightforward, but the way your child wears a backpack can be physically detrimental if not worn properly.¬†Gaynor’s Occupational Therapy Department has chosen to participate in The American Occupational Therapy Association’s National Backpack Awareness Day on September 23 to show students how to wear a backpack properly.

According to AOTA, these are the steps your child should take when loading and wearing a backpack.


Loading a Pack

  • A child’s backpack should weigh no more than about 10% of his or his body weight. This means a student weighing 100 pounds shouldn’t wear a loaded school backpack heavier than about 10 pounds.
  • Load heaviest items closest to the child’s back.
  • Arrange books and materials so they won’t slide around in the backpack.
  • Check what your child carries to school and brings home. Make sure the items are necessary for the day’s activities.
  • If the backpack is too heavy or tightly packed, your child can hand carry a book or other item outside the pack.

Wearing a Pack

  • Distribute weight evenly by using both straps. Wearing a pack slung over one shoulder can cause a child to lean to one side, curving the spine and causing pain or discomfort.
  • Select a pack with well-padded shoulder straps. Shoulders and necks have many blood vessels and nerves that can cause pain and tingling in the neck, arms, and hands when too much pressure is applied.
  • Adjust the shoulder straps so that the pack fits snugly on the child’s back. A pack that hangs loosely from the back can pull the child backwards and strain muscles.
  • Wear the waist belt if the backpack has one. This helps distribute the pack’s weight more evenly.
  • The bottom of the pack should rest in the curve of the lower back. It should never rest more than four inches below the child’s waistline.
  • School backpacks come in different sizes for different ages. Choose the right size pack for your child as well as one with enough room for necessary school items.