A general rule of thumb is to carry less than 15% of your body weight. This means that a child who weights 100 pounds should carry less than a fifteen pound backpack. With notebook computers, binders, hardcover texts and school supplies it is very easy to accumulate lots of excess weight. Assist your child in sorting out her bag and carrying only what she really needs. Weigh the backpack, then weigh your child and plug the numbers into the following equation to determine the percentage:
______________ x 100 = percentage weight
Every year on the third Wednesday in September, the American Occupational Therapy Association promotes backpack education with a Backpack Awareness Day. Parents, teachers, occupational therapist and ergonomic specialists across the country provide students with the opportunity to learn about appropriate backpack weight at weigh-ins held in schools, libraries and community centers. Even if your child’s school does not host a Backpack Awareness Day event you can determine the most appropriate weight for your child and continue to monitor the weight that he or she is carrying to school.