Backpacks are worn to school every day by millions of kids around the world, but have you ever thought about the serious health effects that backpacks can cause children? The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) has stated a backpack awareness day to help raise awareness about how to properly wear a backpack and how heavy it should be. According to the AOTA, in 2007 over 2,000 backpack related injuries were treated in emergency rooms and physician offices. In one study with American students ages 11 to 15 years, 64% reported back pain related to heavy backpacks. Twenty one percent reported the pain lasting more than 6 months.
According to the AOTA there are 3 simple steps to backpack wearing to help reduce the risk of injury. The first step is to pack it properly. Make sure to utilize all compartments and pockets of the backpack to help distribute weight, and keep the heavier items closer to the back center of the backpack. A backpack should weigh no more than 10% of your child’s total body weight. The second step is put it on correctly. Make sure your child is picking up the backpack by bending and lifting in the knees instead of the waist to prevent back injury. The third step is to make sure the backpack is adjusted and worn properly. Always use both shoulder straps and make sure the backpack rests snugly against the back. Make sure that the backpack does not go above your child’s shoulders or below the top of the hip bones.
National backpack awareness is day is September 21, 2016. So why talk about backpacks now? It is important to know how to properly size a backpack and what should be in them before beginning your back to school shopping especially with tax free weekend coming up. Georgia and South Carolina both have tax free weekends coming up for back to school supplies.
Georgia’s TAX FREE weekend is July 30 – July 31st. During this weekend the sales tax will be exempt on different clothing items, computers and accessories, and school supplies, however there are some limitations on items and pricing. Total cost in clothing items must be less than $100 in order to receive tax exemption. Computer items less than $1,000 and school supplies less than $20 for tax exemption. Please be sure to look at the link below for all of the official rules and regulations for Georgia’s tax free weekend https://dor.georgia.gov/sites/dor.georgia.gov/files/related_files/press_release/2016%20Sales%20Tax%20Holiday%20Back%20to%20School.pdf
South Carolina’s TAX FREE weekend is August 7 – August 9th. During this time, sales tax will not be imposed on items such as clothing, shoes, school supplies, bookbags, computers, printers, bedspreads and linens. Nonexempt items include the sale of jewelry, cosmetics, eyewear, furniture, or items placed on layaway. Please be sure to look at the link below for all of the official rules and regulations for South Carolina’s tax free weekend https://dor.sc.gov/resources-site/media-site/Pages/SOUTH-CAROLINA'S-ANNUAL-SALES-TAX-HOLIDAY-IS-AUGUST-7-9.aspx
Backpack awareness links and more information
For suggestions on other school supplies, check out Krista's blog post for this week! http://www.lowcountrytherapycenter.com/our-blog/back-to-school-supplies
-Matthew D’Antonio, PT, DPT
Pediatric Physical Therapist