National School Backpack Awareness Day, on September 26, is a day for educators and physicians to come together to spread awareness about the neck and back pain that can come from lugging around a heavy backpack day after day.

The National Occupational Therapy Association sponsors this day each year to spread awareness and share tips about preventing injury from carrying a heavy backpack. Germs are another safety hazard when it comes to backpacks. So, let’s review a few tips to protect your neck, back, and immune system!

Find the Best Backpack to Fit Your Body’s Needs

The functionality of a backpack’s pockets and the design may be important, but so is the safety of the design. Here are a few key things to look for when you’re buying a backpack.

  • Wide comfortable straps – These straps should be padded. A waist strap is a great addition to help relieve pressure from the back and neck.
  • Strap placement – The straps of the backpack should rest below the top of the shoulder, about one or two inches below is ideal. The bottom of the backpack should rest in the lower back, a backpack that hangs lower can literally weigh you down.
  • Safety features – Look for a backpack with reflective straps or other safety features if you’ll be doing a lot of walking with your backpack.

Avoid the Germs

Backpacks often get placed on the ground, floor, tossed around, and touched by many people in passing. This means they’re a breeding ground for germs and bacteria that can easily transfer into your body and attack your immune system. Practice these simple tips to avoid illness or disease from germs lingering on your backpack.

  • Wash your hands often – This is good advice to follow throughout life, but especially during a school day. Regular handwashing is the best way to fight against the bacteria that live on your backpack and may try to transfer onto you.
  • Make a designated area – This means having an area in your house, dorm, or apartment to keep backpacks at all times. It’s easy to come home and throw a backpack on your bed, but that only spreads more germs. A simple wall hook or chair to place your backpack off the floor can help reduce the spread of germs,
  • Carry antibacterial hand sanitizer – Having an antibacterial hand sanitizer on your backpack is another easy way to fight against the germs on your backpack. Although handwashing is the best method of protection, using hand sanitizer during class or in between classes when you don’t have time to wash your hands is a great preventative measure.


Family Care at AFC Urgent Care

Our walk-in urgent care center provides treatment for the whole family. No appointment is ever necessary. AFC Urgent Care offers convenient health care for everyone in your family, from your toddlers in preschool to your young adults attending their first year in college.  We provide a range of medical services to keep them healthy throughout the school year. AFC Urgent Care offers physicals, treats colds or flu, offers flu shots, vaccinations, treats minor injuries, and much more. For more information about the services we provide, please call us at 203-969-2000.