National Backpack Safety Awareness Day

Kennewick, WA  - Today is the American Occupational Therapy Association's National Backpack Safety Awareness Day.

As kids settle into the fall, and their homework load starts to grow, so will the weight on their backs.

In fact, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission says thousands of children are treated every year for injuries related to heavy backpacks. These problems usually start around October, Doctor Robert Rettig from Back to Basics Chiropractic in Kennewick said.

"I think when people do finally make it in here and they have this constant low back pain, we discuss how they sleep, how they sit, what they're doing...then all the sudden, the kid will talk about the backpack. They'll say it's 'so heavy' and then you have them bring it in and its just hanging off their back and its just huge," Rettig said.

Your child's backpack should weigh no more than ten to 15 percent of their body weight to prevent any injuries that could have any long term affects.

Some of those affects could include chronic pain, plastic deformation, or Osteoarthritis.

Doctor Rettig recommends wearing backpacks using both shoulder straps at all times.

"I think just recognizing too the width of the strap...you'll see a lot more of these backpacks now are curved, and then they're wider in different places to disperse the weight," Rettig said.

Kids can also wear ones that have chest straps, or ones that roll on the ground. The top of the backpack should be one inch below the neck and the bottom should be just above the waistline. Parents can help this issue by simply just observing their child.

"A lot of the times when the backpack is on and its too heavy they start to crane their neck forward, or their back will stoop in and they'll start to lean. And what you start seeing is mechanical changes that become the norm for that child or that adult," Rettig said.

You can also lighten the load by regularly cleaning it out and getting rid of unnecessary items.

Back to Basics Chiropractic is located on 8033 W Grandridge Blvd in Kennewick. For any further questions you can contact them at (509) 738-1025.

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