National School Backpack Awareness Day
the third Wednesday in September (since 2002)
The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) created National School Backpack Awareness Day to help prevent injuries to the back, neck, and shoulders that can occur from carrying heavy backpacks. The day isn't just about backpacks, however; suitcases, briefcases, and large purses are focused on as well. People are taught how to properly choose, pack, lift, and carry bags so that they can remain safe. Occupational therapy practitioners and students often organize events on the day, such as weigh-ins. These often take place at schools, but can also be held at shopping malls, corporate parks, commuter stations, and airports. At weigh-ins, bags are checked, to make sure that they weigh no more than 10% of a person's body weight.
How to Observe
Celebrate the day by becoming aware of the weight of your backpacks, suitcases, briefcases, and purses, and about the harm that heavy bags can cause. You could attend an event, such as a weigh-in, or help organize such an event so that people can learn how to choose, pack, lift, and carry different types of bags. The AOTA has provided event planning tips and strategies, as well as handouts related to the day and backpack safety, which you can use. The AOTA has also recommended going to their CommunOT page to share ideas about the day.