National School Backpack Awareness Day

Did you know that September 16th is the National School Backpack Awareness Day? If not, that’s okay because I didn’t know that either until today. I remember when I was younger and in elementary school everyone had the typical solid black backpack. It was boring, but it still served its purpose and held our books. Now when school is back in session, students look forward to picking out their backpacks because there are so many colors and different designs. I’m pretty sure that everyone feels that if they have to carry their bag around all day it might as well be fashionable and up to par with their style. So yeah, picking out backpacks is fun, but carrying them isn’t, especially when they are heavy and loaded with books.

I remember carrying extremely heavy backpacks while in middle school and the first couple of years of high school. I always complained about how much my neck and my back hurt. My mom always told me to stop carrying such a heavy bag, but how was I not going to carry a heavy bag if I needed all of those textbooks, binders, and notebooks to do homework? For the most part I needed to carry all of them to class as well.

According to the American Occupational Therapy Association Inc., you shouldn’t carry a backpack that weights more than 15% of your weight. Also, you shouldn’t overload your bag, and only carry what’s necessary. The AOTA also believes that learning how to pack and wear your bag can also help. For instance, pack the heaviest items at the back of the bag, and when wearing your backpack make sure you use both straps and the waist belt (if it has one) because that will help distribute the weight evenly. Avoid using purses or one-strap bags because although they are stylish, they put more weight on one side of your body, which strains your muscles and affects your posture, and that my friend, is not cute!

Instead of carrying your binders around – leave them in your locker and carry loose leaf sheets in a light folder. At the end of the day you’ll just have to remember to re-insert the papers into your binder.

Instead of carrying your textbooks around – make photocopies of the pages you’ll need and bring them to class, or take them home to do homework.

If your school allows you to go to your locker between classes, take advantage of this and drop off books and things that you will not need until you go home.

For more information about backpack safety, read this pdf from the AOTA.