Sunday, July 31, 2011

Back Pack! Back Pack! Looks like Dora's might be the right size and weight for her..what about your child? Here are some tips from the AOTA!

It’s almost time! Do you hear the school bell? Can you smell those freshly sharpened number two pencils coming out of that stylish new pencil bag? Some of us as parents are teary while others are counting the days till the start of the school year. Either way, I hope you are savoring these sweet last few days of summer. I know I’m trying to be conscious of scheduling in some purposeful quality time with my girls as we prepare for both of them to spend all day in school (translation: part time stay at home gig is now over for this Mommy!). If your children aren’t school aged yet, I know you’ve heard it a million times, but it is so true – it goes faster than you blink! So enjoy those precious moments every day.

Our youngest sort of got the typical “2nd child” introduction to elementary school. My husband and I were away for Kindergarten orientation, and she’s well aware of anything that might be perceived as new. She’s already plotting her seat on the bus, wondering which day she’ll have art class, and trying to figure out which other “2nd kids” will join her in class. One small right of passage that excited her was the process of choosing the new backpack. We looked at 4 different websites and I entertained discussions about color, pattern, and how her name would look (note to those pregnant readers out there…you are limited to 9ish characters on the back pack. We call her by her first and second names and she only got the first on the new bag! If you care about this sort of thing – keep in mind when naming your bundle of joy). We patiently looked over all our options until she felt confident to pick the perfect one and leaped for joy the day it finally arrived. Apparently the excitement I’ve always had over new school supplies has been passed on! (I spent an hour carefully filling out my new and adorable day planner! I know – pretty nerdy).

Anyway – as you search out that treasured backpack for your school aged child I thought some information might be helpful. Our friends at the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) launch awareness events through the country about backpack safety (you didn’t know a back pack could be yet another point of danger for your child, did you? I know…seems silly but very true.) I pulled the information below from the Association’s website: (

According to the website, “More than 23,000 backpack-related injuries were treated at hospital emergency rooms, doctor’s offices, and clinics in 2007. About 55% of students carry a backpack that is heavier than the recommended guideline of 15% of the student’s total body weight.
It is recommended that a loaded backpack should never weigh more than 15% of the student’s total body weight (for a student weighing 100 pounds, this means that the backpack should weigh no more than 15 pounds).”

But don’t despair and kids don’t try using this as an excuse for no homework! “In a study on the effect of backpack education on student behavior and health, nearly 8 out of 10 middle school students who changed how they loaded and wore their backpacks reported less pain and strain in their backs, necks, and shoulders.  The way backpacks are worn affects your health. The height of the backpack should extend from approximately 2 inches below the shoulder blades to waist level or slightly above the waist. It is recommended that individuals always wear the backpack on both shoulders so the weight is evenly distributed.

It doesn’t only matter what is IN the backpack but HOW it is packed. So take a minute to look over these recommendations and review them with your child. The simple changes will not only make using their backpack more comfortable but can actually ward off injury. Many Occupational Therapists facilitating these events actually weigh the child and the backpack. Try this at home to see if your child is meeting the recommendations with his/her bag. And feel free to visit the AOTA’s site for more information and helpful handouts. Feel free to share with friends or your child’s school or pediatrician as well.

* A child’s backpack should weigh no more than about 15% of his or her body weight. This means a student weighing 100 pounds shouldn’t wear a loaded school backpack heavier than about 15 pounds.
* Load heaviest items closest to the child’s back (the back of the pack).  Arrange books and materials so they won’t slide around in the backpack.
* Check what your child carries to school and brings home. Make sure
the items are necessary for the day’s activities.
* If the backpack is too heavy or tightly packed, your child can hand
carry a book or other item outside the pack.
*If the backpack is too heavy on a regular basis, consider using a book bag on wheels if your child’s school allows it.

* Distribute weight evenly by using both straps. Wearing a pack slung over one shoulder can cause a child to lean to one side, curving the spine and causing pain or discomfort.
* Select a pack with well-padded shoulder straps. Shoulders and necks have many blood vessels and nerves that can cause pain and tingling in the neck, arms, and hands when too much pressure is applied.
* Adjust the shoulder straps so that the pack fits snugly on the child’s back. A pack that hangs loosely from the back can pull the child backwards and strain muscles.
* Wear the waist belt if the backpack has one. This helps distribute the pack’s weight more evenly.
* The bottom of the pack should rest in the curve of the lower back. It should never rest more than four inches below the child’s waistline.
* School backpacks come in different sizes for different ages. Choose the right size pack for your child as well as one with enough room for necessary school items.

                                            Ready for bed, school, or anything that comes their way!


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Welcome to our blog! As longtime friends, we recently decided to combine our professional experience (as a speech-language pathologist and physical therapist) and "Mommy Experience" to create a company dedicated to something we are both extremely passionate about - letting kids be kids! Milestones and Miracles, LLC was formed in 2010. Our mission is to empower parents in understanding the natural progression of their child's development (and not rush it along and skip stages). We develop and provide developmental products to support this learning process, bonding families through engaging, fun, and meaningful experiences! We are thrilled to share that our first product, 1 2 3 Just Play With Me is available for sale. Visit to learn more and order a unique product for yourself & your child or as a gift! We will continue use this blog to share about topics that interest and excite us. Stay tuned!


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