|CRH Occupational Therapists Advise Elementary Students to "Pack it Light, Wear it Right"
The following are guidelines for loading and wearing backpacks the right way to avoid health problems: Never let a child carry more than 15% of his/her body weight. Load heaviest items closest to the back. Arrange books and materials so they don’t slide around. Both shoulder straps should be worn and also be well padded. Adjust the shoulder straps so that the pack fits snugly to the child’s back. Wear the waist belt if the backpack has one. The bottom of the backpack should rest in the curve of the lower back and should never rest more than four inches below the child’s waistline.
September 19 is National School Backpack Awareness Day. Each year over 5,000 school children go to emergency rooms because of injuries related to over-weighted backpacks and in a recent study 60% of school age children reported chronic back pain related to heavy backpacks. Occupational therapists recommend that a student’s backpack weigh no more than 15% of their body weight.
On September 19 Calais Regional Hospital occupational therapists weighed in backpacks at Calais Elementary School for grades 1 - 6 to make sure students are not carrying too much. Occupational therapists, Katie Ramey and Katie Michie, advised students to "Pack it Right, Wear it Light!" to prevent injury.
"Occupational therapists work with children in schools across the nation and see the effects of heavy backpacks first hand," stated Shirley Reed, PT, Director of Rehabilitation Services at CRH. "Katie and Katie wanted to use this day to educate not only teachers and parents, but the children themselves on the proper way to pack and wear their backpacks to prevent injury and strain."
Katie Ramey, OT (l) and Katie Michie, OT (r) weighed Calais Elementary School students and their backpacks and advised on proper wearing. 4th grader Mayez Travis awaits her results above.
For more information on National Backpack Awareness Day or other occupation therapy issues, contact Katie Ramey, OT or Katie Michie, OT at 454-2544.