Whatever you buy for your children as they prepare to go back to school, you make sure you buy in the right size—shoes, pants, shirts, skirts, socks and so on. You should exercise the same care in buying a backpack. Yes, the backpack needs to fit properly, too. An ill-fitting backpack filled with a heavy load of books and other school supplies, can injure a child. Here are a few pointers to keep in mind when buying a backpack:
• The backpack should not be wider or longer than your child’s torso. The more the backpack hangs below the waist, the more pressure it puts on the shoulders.
• It should have adjustable, padded shoulder straps and a waist strap to provide lower back support.
• It should have multiple compartments so that items—and their weight—can be distributed evenly.
• A loaded backpack should not weigh more than 15 percent of a child’s weight. For instance, a child who weighs 80 pounds should not carry a backpack that weighs more than 12 pounds. A child struggling with an excessively heavy backpack may be setting up a scenario for back and spinal troubles later in life.
• When your child is heading off to school in the morning, make sure he or she has both shoulder straps on and is carrying the weight evenly, not slung over one shoulder.
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