Occupational Therapy Resources

     Backpack Safety

As practical as backpacks are, they can strain muscles and joints and may cause back pain if they're too heavy or are used incorrectly. Here's how to help kids find the right backpack.

When a heavyweight, such as a backpack filled with books, is incorrectly placed on the shoulders, the weight's force can pull a child backward. To compensate, a child may bend forward at the hips or arch the back, which can cause the spine to compress unnaturally. The heavyweight might cause some kids to develop shoulder, neck, and back pain.

Most doctors and Occupational Therapists recommend that kids carry no more than 10% to 15% of their body weight in their packs.

Kids who wear their backpacks over just one shoulder — as many do because they think it looks better or just feels easier — may end up leaning to one side to offset the extra weight. They might develop lower and upper back pain and strain their shoulders and neck.

When carrying the backpack it is best to use both shoulder straps, keep the weight centered and close to the body with the bottom of the backpack about 2 inches below the waist.


“Kid’s Health”

     Holding a pencil

How to teach a child to hold their pencil

“Pinch and flip”

Tell your child to lay the pencil in front of them with the point of the pencil pointing toward them. Tell them to pick up their pencil with their thumb and index finger--this is the pinch part. Then, have them gently push the pencil so it flips around and rests properly. Easy!

Stretch and Relax:


 Sit up tall in the chair with your feet on the floor. Raise both arms overhead, clasp hands and gently look up at your hands. Hold for 5
Seconds. Slowly lower arms back to side, relax shoulders down and elongate neck
Holding for 5 seconds. Repeat 3 times.

Pencil Pick Up