Dear Families and Friends of Trinity,
One of my favorite fragments of my day is early morning drop-off. I get to give a quick “Hello” to many parents and then there is that traditional smile on every child’s face as they get out of their car and approach their school community. I often wonder, ‘Where were they in their conversation with mom or dad or……. what could they have been talking about?’ I am sure if I knew the answer, I would have a best-selling book!
Because of the exuberance in each child and the shift into full school mode, children usually do not take the proper time to protect themselves from back injuries in regards to their backpacks. A good percentage of students do not take the time to zip their backpacks up or to place them on their backs properly with both straps. Below are some great tips intended to protect students from the injuries that can result from improper backpack usage. I will also be sharing these tips during chapel announcements.
1) Ensure the backpack comes with wide, padded shoulder straps. Backpacks are no longer just about utility. Today backpacks are also considered apparel. In keeping with fashion expectations, some backpack straps are thin and unpadded. Avoid these backpacks for everyday school use as they can hurt and damage skin.
2) Ensure the backpack comes with a padded back. Books and other contents have hard edges. A padded back protects against pain associated with continuous contact against hard edges.
3) Pack light, with the backpack weighing no more than 20% of body weight. Medical professionals advise against packing more than 20% of the child’s body weight to avoid strain on the back.
4) Organize the contents with the heaviest items closest to the back. Contents should be arranged to ensure that the heaviest items are placed closest to the back. This keeps the weight from pulling the child backwards and prevents back strain.
5) Use both straps. While hanging the backpack on only one shoulder may be convenient or look “cool,” it can cause back pain as the spine is forced to cope with uneven distribution of weight.
6) Keep the straps snug. Snug straps keep the load of the backpack close to the back and reduce backward pull against the body.
7) Pick up backpack bending both knees. Any time something is being lifted, regardless of weight, proper form is essential. Both knees should be bent when picking up a backpack to prevent strain on the back.
8) Ensure bottom of backpack rests in the curve of the lower back when being worn. The back and shoulders should carry the load. The higher position reduces strain.
9) If the weight exceeds 20% carry an item in hand to reduce weight in backpack. When possible, carry an item outside the backpack in order to keep the contents lighter.
10) Keep pens, pencils and other sharp objects in hard plastic cases to prevent them from poking through backpack and harming your child. Sharp items roaming loose may harm your child or someone brushing up against the backpack.
With warm regards,
Mark Ravelli / Head of School
Trinity Episcopal School
720 Tremont Street Galveston, TX 77550