As school settles into session, many parents will be worried about the backpacks their children are carrying to school each day. Children who wear backpacks incorrectly or ones that are loaded with too much weight may face discomfort, muscle soreness, fatigue, and lower back pain.
On September 26th, the American Occupational Therapy Association will hold its annual National Backpack Awareness Day. On this day, occupational therapy practitioners, educators, and students will come together to help the community learn more about avoiding pain and injury caused by heavy bags.
Are you looking for ways to show your support for the community on National Backpack Awareness Day? Get some ideas for supporting the event below.
Attend a Local Event
Many backpack weigh-ins and other events will be taking place, and some of these events need occupational therapy practitioners like you to assist them in showing attendees new techniques to avoid injury and strain. Your tips and demonstrations could prevent somebody from becoming severely injured.
Weigh-ins are among the most popular events held on this day. During these events, attendees bring backpacks, briefcases, purses, and other bags for weighing. The weight of a bag should be about 10% of the individual’s body weight. Children who carry books and binders to school risk injury by carrying more than this.
Host Your Own Local Event
Perhaps you have already looked for occupational therapy events in your area, only to find nothing of substance. It might be up to you to host your own event involving education about proper bag and backpack usage.
The first step toward hosting an event, like a weigh-in, is to contact a venue. Schools, business offices, and malls are great places to begin. You may need to bring supplies as well, including scales, tables, posters, and tools for demonstrations.
Consider Online Avenues
You may find it is not always possible to pursue physical avenues for building awareness about backpack-related injuries. Still, you can take to the Internet to educate your followers. You might consider recording podcasts, creating videos, or writing blog posts about the risks of using heavy bags.
Twitter is also a great place to interact with your audience. You can hold Q&A sessions or provide video demonstrations about the safety of having an appropriately sized bag. You can also help out other local occupational therapists by promoting their events online.
Distribute Backpack Tips
Keep in mind a few helpful tips you can pass on to parents and children whether you attend a backpack weigh-in or you are posting online.
For example, backpacks should have padded straps that facilitate even distribution of weight to both sides of the body. The load of the back is important too. The heaviest items always go closest to the child’s back, whereas lighter items go further away.
Pursue Continuing Education
OT con ed is one way to support the community. After all, your education and experience are the most direct ways you can help your clients. Occupational Therapy Courses provide the perfect opportunity for you to learn more about back and shoulder injuries.