August 16, 2011
KCH Rehabilitation Services Offered Tips on Backpack Safety

On Monday, August 15, Kellie Ely, Physical Therapist and manager of KCH Rehabilitation Services, shared tips on backpack safety with parents and kids at the Kane Area Community Center.  Monday was a day for Kane Area kids and parents to pick up a pair of new sneakers, socks and backpacks in preparation for school.  The items and money were donated through a community drive conducted by the Kane Area Community Center. 

More that a hundred pairs of new sneakers and socks and 60 new backpacks were gathered in this year's very successful drive.  August 15 proved to be a great day to be a kid in the Kane Area.

The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) sponsors an annual National School Backpack Awareness Day in September.  AOTA  tells us that “aching backs and shoulders, tingling arms, weakened muscles, and stooped posture are some of the symptoms to look for when kids wear a school backpack that is too heavy.  Carrying too much weight in a pack or wearing it the wrong way can lead to pain and strain.  Parents can take steps to help kids load and wear backpacks the correct way to avoid health problems."  

Injuries and pain caused by heavy school backpacks can be minimized if students and caregivers follow a few simple steps.   

Here are some of the tips on backpack safety Ely shared: carry no more than 15% of body weight, wear both straps snug but not too tight, load the heaviest items to the back next to the child,  backpack should not hang below the waist, and bend at the knees when lifting the backpack.  (Parents may want to weigh their kids packs to check every now and then.)

Ely will be coordinating with the school to continue the education for teachers and kids on the importance of backpack safety to prevent injuries and other musculoskeletal problems in the future. 

For a copy of the handout with additional guidance on safely loading and wearing a backpack, contact Kellie at 814-837-4735 or e-mail her at

Kane Community Hospital is an affiliate of UPMC Hamot with hospital-based clinics in Kane, Mt. Jewett, Sheffield, Johnsonburg and Ridgway.


KCH Rehabilitation Services Offered Tips on Backpack Safety

Here (l-r) Kellie Ely, Physical Therapist and manager of KCH Rehab Services is suiting up three models to demonstrate backpack safety tips -- her son Luke, and Krisa and Kaylei Rhodes.  Kids and parents shopped the many choices available to them at the Kane Area Community Center on Monday.  Kellie and Luke put a safety tips handout in each backpack.  Kellie helped parents and kids decide the best size bag for each child and offered safety techniques for wearing, packing and lifting backpacks.