ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) — School is almost in session for all areas in the Twin Tiers with New York State schools starting this week.
As students prepare with new clothes and supplies, one key component to a student’s wardrobe might be overlooked time and time again, and it sits on their back.
Bookbags carry everything a student needs to complete their day-to-day activities at school, but they can get heavy, with medical experts saying it’s best to choose right, pack right, lift right, and wear right.
Choosing the right bag to wear is just as important as putting the right materials inside of it, making sure students have the best bag that fits them based on their size.
According to Maggie Holleneeck, a physical therapist at Arnot Health, the bookbag should rest in the curve of their student’s lower back and shouldn’t be more than four inches below their waistline.
When it comes to all that weight, Holleneeck says that a bag should not exceed 15% of the child’s body weight, with all the heaviest items loaded closest to the child’s back.
Teaching students proper lifting of their bookbag can help them with other tasks later in life.
Holleneeck said that to properly lift a fully loaded bookbag a student should face the bag, bend at the knees, and lift the bag with both hands while using their legs.
Finally, to avoid a curvature in the spine, Holleneeck said to avoid slinging the bookbag over one shoulder, but instead use both shoulder straps to have a snug, but not too tight, fit on the body, and include the chest strap if the bag has one.
Practicing these techniques before the first day of school can help prepare both students and parents for a successful school year.