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Get Involved in AOTA’s National School Backpack Awareness Day: Tips from Two OTs

  • Broadcast in Health
AOTAs Occupational Therapy Channel

AOTAs Occupational Therapy Channel


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More than 79 million backpack-carrying students across the U.S. are settling into new routines – some of which include bringing the same items home each afternoon. Heavy loads in backpacks can cause injuries and chronic low back pain. Students, educators, parents, and health professionals mark National School Backpack Awareness Day annually in September with backpack weigh-ins, check-ups, activities, and events. In this podcast, Karen Jacobs, EdD, OTR/L, CPE, FAOTA, and Jacquelyn M. Sample, DrOT, M.Ed., OTR/L, share their experiences rwith how-to steps on making your activity a success:

Weigh-in Event: Grab a scale and AOTA’s weigh-in sheet and record the weights of students’ backpacks. Send home materials to parents on how to select a safe backpacks, and how to wear a backpack. Read AOTA’s Tips for a successful weigh-in event.

Skit: Jacobs’ can provide a skit for students to perform based on “The Incredibles.” For this year’s skit, visit

School Assembly: Speak with students about the dangers of heavy backpacks, and what can be removed to lighten the load.

Math Lesson: Weigh backpacks, talk about what makes them heavy, create bar graphs and dot charts on how much they weighed, find the mean, median and average of the weights.

Table of Materials: Share AOTA’s handouts.

Write a Blurb for the School Newsletter

Coloring Contest: Download and distribute AOTA’s OTRex Coloring Sheet.

Backpack Giveaway: Coordinate with a local company to donate backpacks to students.

Stickers: Download and distribute AOTA’s Backpack Awareness Day stickers.

Social Media: Using #BackpackSafety, share tips for safe backpack use

Learn more at