The American Occupational Therapy Association’s National Backpack Awareness Day is all about reminding parents, students, and therapists to ensure that backpacks are being packed and worn properly. Are you planning anything to remind your patients of the importance of backpack safety?
When is National Backpack Awareness Day?
This year, National Backpack Awareness Day is on September 26, 2018.
It's usually on the third Wednesday of each September, but this year it will be on the 26th instead out of respect for Yom Kippur, which ends the night of Wednesday, September 19.
Why Does National Backpack Awareness Day Matter?
At least 90% of children use backpacks every day! Unfortunately, most of them carry backpacks over the recommended weight. And only 4% of parents actually check the weight of their children's backpacks.
That's why it's so important to raise awareness about proper backpack habits (and why National Backpack Awareness Day exists!).
Heavier books should be packed toward the child’s back
The weight of the backpack should be equal to no more than 10% of the child’s body weight
Straps should be tight and supported by the child’s body
If available, hip belts and chest straps should be fastened
The lower part of the backpack should rest no lower than 4 inches below waistline
Each year, the American Occupational Therapy Association uses National Backpack Awareness Day to educate parents and students on how to safely pack and wear backpacks with materials and videos like this:
Free Backpack Awareness Resources
Last year, we asked two experienced pediatric therapists to create a few extra handouts to help you remind your patients (and their parents) to protect their backs. These handouts contain:
instructions on how to pack a backpack
instructions on how to wear a backpack
And they include:
a checklist to make sure a backpack is packed safely
a fact sheet that shows the importance of backpack safety
a handout covering guidelines for safe packing
a handout explaining the safest way to wear a backpack
A New Activity
We've also created a new activity just for National Backpack Awareness Day in 2018. It's a packing activity to help your patients learn about how to safely pack their backpacks with the added bonus of being a great activity for working on language and fine motor skills!
If you want to get involved with National Backpack Awareness day, feel free to hand these out at your clinic or school to raise awareness.
We hope they help you spread the word about backpack safety!