Backpack Safety America Videos
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“Sit up straight, please.”
“Stand up straight.”
How well did those messages work for you? I’ll guess that unless you put several years in the military or attended a top-notch finishing school, you may not have gained the habit of good posture.
I happen to agree with my parents (and, most likely, with your parents) on the importance of good posture. It’s so very critical when we’re young and habits are in the formative stages. It’s also when the spine is in its formative stage, and we know that proper care for the spine in the early years makes a huge difference in one’s health and wellness throughout a lifetime.
That’s why I’m concerned, as are many parents, with the alarmingly heavy backpacks children are lugging to and from school every day of the school year. I’ve spoken with many parents who can’t believe the amount of weight in their child’s backpack.
I believe that overloaded backpacks are doing damage
to children each and every day of the school year.
And the research studies back it up!
Study after study now shows that children are hurt by improper and unsafe use of backpacks. The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission tracks the number of emergency room visits related to backpack injuries. They reported a rise of a whopping 330 percent between 1996 and 2003!
Why is this so important to me? I’m a Doctor of Chiropractic. I help people enjoy fuller health through proper functioning I see entire families in my office. Many of the children now complain of backaches, neck aches and more. These are the sorts of complaints I’m used to hearing from much older patients.
The fact that school-age children are suffering similar problems so early in life is a sure sign of even bigger health challenges to come!
Several years ago, my partner and I started researching to see what anyone was doing concerning backpack safety among children in school. What we found was literally nothing! Since that was unacceptable, we researched some more and came up with recommendations on how children could use backpacks safely and properly. Then we put that information into easy-to-use materials and began offering it for use in schools.
We knew we had to get this message across in a convincing way and that we would have only a short time to do it. That’s when we decided that video was our best option. We wrote the script, revised it a few times and put our producer to work.
The finished product, what we got from that process, is now on display for the entire world to see. See it for yourself:just click on this link and then click on view the video. It’s short…only eight minutes start to finish, and it says exactly what we want students, parents, teachers and school administrators to know about backpack safety.
So how did you like the video? If you didn’t watch it, check to see how others feel. For example, that short video is the winner of The 1999 Aurora Awards Platinum Best of Show - Other winners that year were Continental Airlines, Children’s Television Workshop and American Express. The Aurora Awards is “an independent film and video competition for commercials, cable programming, documentaries, industrial, instructional and corporate videos.”
And don’t take our word for it. Just look at what some parents are saying:
If we were playing the television game show Jeopardy, we might hear Alex Trebek say, “Relevant, entertaining, informative and short.” We’d immediately hit the buzzer and respond, “What are the four qualities most likely to get someone to watch a video on backpack safety?” and we’d be correct. In just eight minutes, you get the four key safety guidelines, a laugh or two and all within a relatively short attention span.
Why take our word for it?Click here and watch the video yourself!
Wait! If we want you to buy this video, why in the world would we go ahead and show it to you absolutely free of charge? There are three good reasons for that:
- We won’t ask you to buy the video sight unseen– Just as you wouldn’t buy a car without a test drive, why not get the feel for this award-winning video by viewing it? Yes, it sort of lets the cat out of the bag, but we believe it sells itself and encourages you to get it to the students, parents and teachers as well as elsewhere in the community.
- We simply can’t send samples each time someone wants to view before buying– Imagine the headaches with videos flying around North America and elsewhere as people check out the video before purchasing! We’d be a lending library of videotapes rather a provider of up-to-the-minute, relevant information on backpack safety for communities and concerned parents around the planet. We’d rather you take a look right now while you’re interested, concerned and ready to take action.
- We’re willing to give the information away– Yes, you’re reading this correctly. We believe so strongly in the message and the message is so consistent with our mission that we want you to know regardless of whether you buy anything at all from us. Get the facts, spread the word and take action to help your children and others change from bad habits into safe and proper use of their backpacks.
We think the information and message is so important that we give it away hundreds of times each and every day.
Did you know?
Back surgery in the United States is second in frequency of surgical procedures only to Caesarean or C-section for childbirth. That’s among today’s adults, most of whom attended school before the 1990s, when what is now called the “backpack generation” came into existence. It was then that children started using backpacks to carry their books. These days, books, handheld electronic games, mobile telephones, a change of clothes, water bottles and snacks are all part of the load.
What’s the real message here? First, there’s nothing inherently wrong or evil with backpacks. Backpacks themselves do no damage, just as automobiles themselves do no damage. When either is used or operated improperly, however, damage is done. With automobiles, the damage is evident in human injury and property. With backpacks, however, the damage is often silent and invisible, hiding inside an otherwise healthy child until improper use year after year takes its full toll, causing symptoms and illness that stay with that child for the rest or his or her life.
Second, safe and proper backpack use is simple using the four guidelines established by Backpack Safety America/International™:
- Choose it right– The backpack itself has features that can help or harm the child using and wearing it. First, the size should be proportional to the size of the child. Looking at the child’s back, the height of the backpack should be no more than three quarters of the length between the child’s shoulder blades and waist. Larger than that is too large for the child and invites the child to fill it to capacity, which will go far beyond healthy and safe limits. In addition, all backpacks are not created equal. Some have far better padding than others. (You also cannot assume that the more you pay for the backpack, the safer your child will be. We learned that lesson the hard way from one of the nation’s top backpack manufacturers. That’s right. As we heard in no uncertain terms, “Safety doesn’t sell backpacks.”) Look for packs that have padded shoulder straps to prevent pinching nerves in and around the shoulder and neck area. You can also find packs that have a lumbar pad to buffer the lower part of the back from the hard edge of books and other contents of the backpack. Finally, opt for a waist strap when it’s available. The child can use that strap to stabilize the load and prevent injuries that occur when the load swings wildly, taking the child with it.
- Pack it right– Backpack Safety America™ recommends that no more than 15 percent of the child’s body weight be carried in a backpack. That means that a child weighing 85 pounds should carry no more than 12 pounds in that backpack. Another clear indicator: if the child must lean forward to handle the load of that backpack, it’s too heavy. Books are heavy; so are all the other items that may or may not be entirely necessary for this particular day of school. Check the backpack regularly to help lighten the load for your child. (This is also an excellent practice for ensuring there are no secret items that could be health or safety hazards to your child. Routine checks to keep the load under control then provide double value with the added peace of mind that comes from knowing what your child is carrying to school each day.
- Lift it right–Let’s do the math. (Don’t worry about the “new math,” This is the old-fashioned kind.) Consider the numbers: let’s say that your child lifts that backpack just 10 times per day. That’s probably conservative considering the number of times that he or she takes it off and puts it on again. Let’s also conservatively put the weight of that backpack at just 12 pounds. With 180 days of school per year, that’s 21,600 pounds the child lifts each year. That’s nearly 11 tons, roughly equivalent to the weight of six midsize automobiles…every year! Can you see how year after year, improper lifting can do damage to the child’s growing spine? Remember, as the twig is bent, so grows the tree! The video contains the five simple steps to proper lifting, a valuable lesson for all ages, no matter what you’re lifting.
- Carry it right– Children have all sorts of creative ways of wearing their backpacks. (Some prefer now to put the load in front. That’s no safer than on the back, incidentally.) Mostly, you’ll see backpacks dangling by one shoulder strap, hanging so low that they rest on the child’s bottom, pulling shoulders and spine far from their natural and healthy upright posture. Using both shoulder straps and the waist strap and wearing the pack in the middle of the child’s back are still the best way to do it.
So why buy the video?
“I can watch it on your web site and get all the information I need. Why should I buy it?” If all you need to act on the information is a single viewing on the web site, you’re all set. On the other hand, will every child in your child’s school, every parent at that school take the time to sit in front of the computer, find the video and watch even a short, eight-minute video? You know, of course, that the answer is no. On the other hand, showing the video at a school assembly on backpack safety and showing it at the upcoming PTA meeting can go a long way toward raising awareness and action. That will help children in that school choose, pack, lift and carry backpack properly and safely. It will also help teachers and administrators become aware of the issue and encourage children during the school day to handle their backpacks with care.
Save just one child the challenge of lifelong heath issues by sharing this message today!
Now that you know we give it away with free viewing on the web site and that we’re serious about spreading the message to children everywhere, will you help us do this? Since we can’t visit every school, present at every student assembly and speak with every principal, we encourage you as a parent, you as an administrator or school health official or you as a health professional concerned about the wellness of your community. Buy this video, show it to your local elementary or middle school principal and get scheduled to present it to students and parents. By doing so, you may be helping more children than you know lead healthy, happy lives.
Yours in Good Health,
Dr. Marvin (Marvin Arnsdorff, D.C.)
Co-Creator, Backpack Safety America™
P.S.: View this video and decide whether your child and the children in your local schools deserve to see this, deserve to know how to use their backpacks safely and properly. Hundreds of lifetimes of illness are at stake. You can make all the difference in the course of just eight minutes with this video. Judge for yourself right now by viewing it free of charge.View the video