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    Backpacks: Safety and Purchase

    By Susan M. Keenan     

    Backpacks have become an essential part of almost every childís life from the tiniest preschooler to the largest high school student. From the moment they begin school, children need and want a backpack of their own. In fact, they typically want a new backpack every school year. Parents lovingly oblige and provide their children with a brand new backpack.

    Nowadays, finding the perfect backpack for your child can be a difficult task. Not only do you need to find one that you approve of, but also, you need to find one that your child is willing to carry. You need to sift through all of the available styles, weeding out the ones with inappropriate content on the outside.

    Next, you need to weed out the ones that are out of your price range, if any. Then, you weed out the ones that you believe will be too small or too large. Finally, just when you believe that you have achieved success, you are left with a child who complains, ďI donít like that one. I want this one. Please, mommy. Please.Ē

    So, you must begin all over, only this time you allow your child to do the initial weeding out. Once he or she selects the one that satisfies his or her heartís desire, you have a choice to make. Can you live with this backpack or must you begin all over again, perhaps at a different store?

    Unfortunately, what you find at the next store wonít be much different. In fact, the market for backpacks is so fierce that manufacturers have made your task much more difficult by providing all kinds of bells and whistles on many models. Special logos and special features become more important to the decision making process than the actual size of the backpack.

    Water bottles, CD cases, key rings, pencil cases, cell phone cases, wallets, extra pockets, clips, and more adorn backpacks in a variety of sizes and colors. Itís been my experience that the younger the child, the bigger the role that the extras play in the decision making process. What TV character is portrayed? How many free doodads are there? With the older child, more likely than not, it becomes a case of what brand name is plastered on the bag.

    Once the backpack is purchased, every parent needs to take precautions to secure their childís well being. First and foremost, ignore the urge to place your childís name on his or her backpack. Children usually know which backpack is theirs. Instead, place the name on the inside of the bag so strangers cannot use it to become familiar with your child.

    Next, either trim or secure the straps on the back of the pack. Straps that are longer than necessary have a tendency to get snagged in escalators, car doors, elevator doors, school doors, and bus doors. If you believe that your child may need longer straps later, tie the bottom parts of the straps together for the time being.

    Likewise, be sure that the size of the backpack is appropriate for your child. The larger the bag is, the heavier it will become as your child stuffs every conceivable thing into it. Additionally, be sure that the backpack is large enough to avoid your child carrying things that donít fit inside. Remember that one of the purposes of a backpack is to keep the childís hands empty. Finally, replace the backpack as it becomes worn or your child outgrows it.

    Written by Susan M. KeenanRate this article:

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