Back to School Ergonomics August 27 2019

Back to School Ergonomics

As the summer ends and fall begins, it’s time to think about the role that ergonomics plays in your child’s school year. One of the biggest risks to your child’s ergonomic health this school year are backpacks. If used correctly, backpacks can help distribute the weight of heavy items like textbooks. However, many children use backpacks incorrectly. Weight, features like straps and pockets as well as the way it’s warn all determine a backpack’s effectiveness. Backpacks that are used incorrectly can cause back pain and put your child at risk of injury. Use the following tips to help ensure your child’s ergonomic health throughout this school year.


Weight of Backpack

The weight of a backpack goes a long way. It’s the main factor that determines whether a backpack is being used safely. If your child is carrying a backpack that is too heavy, there is nothing you can do to prevent injury. According to the American Chiropractic Association, your child’s backpack shouldn’t weigh more than 10% of their body weight. This means if your child is 60 pounds, their backpack should be no more than 6 pounds.


• Check the weight of your child’s backpack with all of their supplies not only at the beginning of the year but also at various points throughout the year as well.


• If their backpack is too heavy, help your child come up with solutions to lighten their load like leaving heavy books in the classroom or removing any unnecessary items from their backpack.


How to Wear

• The backpack should sit below your child’s shoulders but above their waist.


• Encourage your child to wear both shoulder straps evenly. Only wearing one strap puts unneeded stress on one side of the body. It’s important to distribute backpack weight as much as possible to reduce the toll it takes on any one area.


• Teach your child to pack the heaviest items closest to their back and the lightest items further away. This makes carrying heavy items a little bit easier.


Backpack Features

• Your child’s backpack straps should be wide for extra support.


• Choose a backpack with a waist strap. This can take some of the stress off their shoulders.


• Their backpack should have padding along the side that will come into contact with their back. This added padding helps to secure belongings and provide a cushion to protect from items with sharp edges.


• Choose a backpack with pockets. This will keep your child organized and distribute the weight of their many school supplies.


Ergo Works® in Palo Alto, CA is your ergonomic expert. Our team hopes you and your child have a successful and injury-free school year. Whether you need ergonomic accessories or one of our services, contact us. We can help you create a safe and healthy work environment. Our team was developed to combat ergonomic concerns among heavy computer users. Schedule any of our three levels of Ergonomic Evaluations to begin your ergonomic health journey.