Waushara County Health News By Waushara County Health Department

Backpack Safety Backpacks are handy for carrying books and lots of other things. However, if they’re not used right, they can strain muscles and even cause back pain. Backpack safety is important for everyone. It’s especially important for children, who can be hurt by regularly carrying too much weight or by not wearing their backpacks correctly. When choosing a backpack, make sure it is lightweight and has many compartments. Shoulder straps should be wide and the back should be padded. Waist belts will also help to evenly distribute weight.   Have you ever weighed your child’s backpack? Experts say a child shouldn’t carry more than 15 percent to 20 percent of his or her weight. Remember to pack the heaviest items closest to the back. Backpacks with compartments make this easier to do. Never bend down from the waist to pick up or set down a heavy backpack. Always squat down, bending at the knees and keep your back straight. Be sure to use both shoulder straps. It may seem easier or more comfortable to sling the backpack over one shoulder, but this habit can lead to back or shoulder pain and/or injuries. Tighten all the straps so the fit is snug and make sure you stand up straight. Contact your primary care provider with any complaints of back pain or neck soreness. Remember these backpack safety tips and have a wonderful school year.