How safe is your child’s backpack? As we run around getting our children ready for another school year, sometimes there are items we don’t think about through no fault of our own. The hustle and bustle of getting school schedules, sports decisions, physicals and clothes ready can take a giant dent out of our free time, especially if we work outside the home. But think about this for a moment. Is your child’s backpack too heavy? If it’s too heavy for you, it’s too heavy for them. School Backpack Awareness Day is September 19 and chances are that the backpack is more than the recommended 10 percent of his or her body weight. It’s not just the young kids. How about the high school or college-aged ones? They are probably carrying even heavier back packs.
This overweight issue isn’t just for backpacks. Purses, briefcases/laptop cases and suitcases also qualify. Let’s discuss those other items where we pack too much.
- Purse. Ever pick up your purse and have trouble lifting it? What do you have in there? A brick, half the stuff from your makeup drawer or your entire life? A purse contains our daily load of what we can’t do without. Purses come in many sizes and some of us buy the largest one we can. But the future awaits and with it comes back, shoulder and neck problems if we persist on this path.
- Briefcase/laptop case. Is it ever so heavy that you feel your shoulder being weighted down on the side you’re carrying it on? That you can barely walk out to the car to throw it in the back seat? It may contain a computer, documents, files and books that are improperly packed. It might be heavier on one side of the case than the other. Not good for your shoulders, back and neck as you lean over to one side and use poor body mechanics to protect yourself.
- Suitcase. Have you ever dragged a suitcase around an airport wondering what the heck was in it as you get ready to depart home? You slog it over to the check-in counter and can barely lift it onto the scale as you await the news. Yes. You’ve gone over on the allotted suitcase weight allowance and are now forced to pay an extra $100. Ugh! But I’ll never be to Hawaii again you whine at the check-in counter, as you reluctantly hand over your credit card for processing. That suitcase was too heavy and the airline suitably punished you in the way they know best. You’re also lucky you didn’t lose your balance and fall.
- Figure out how your kids don’t have to carry around so much and stick with the essentials. If your child weighs 100 pounds, they should not be carrying more than 10 pounds in their backpack. Place heavier items in the back center and lighter ones out front. Secure items in their allotted compartments so they don’t move around. Use both straps to even out posture. You could always get the kids a wheeled book bag, too.
- Leave some of those heavy purse items at home. You don’t need to carry a pound of makeup, five hair brushes, a computer and that brick in your purse.
- Use a rolling briefcase/laptop case instead of one that goes over your shoulder. It is so much easier as the weight is evenly distributed.
- Take a carry-on along with that suitcase to check-in at the airport. Lift with your legs and not with your back as you pull suitcases out of the car or set them on the weight scale.