LAND O'LAKES — National School Backpack Awareness Day was Sept. 17 and for many, the day came and went with hardly a blip.
But not for Donna Johnson, a school nurse at Pine View Middle, Denham Oaks Elementary, Countryside Montessori and Imagine Charter schools.
"Backpack safety is sort of my passion," said Johnson, who has held Backpack Safety clinics for students in the past. And she wrote an article all about it that was distributed recently in some school newsletters throughout the county.
Since she started working in the schools in 1994, Johnson has seen plenty of "don'ts" when it comes to backpacks. While she's quick to debunk the myth that carrying a heavy backpack can cause scoliosis, she said carrying too much weight or wearing that backpack the wrong way can cause plenty of aches and pains.
First and foremost, Johnson advises parents to check their child's backpack to make sure students aren't carrying any unnecessary books. Middle schools such as Pine View distribute a set of books for home and a set for the classroom so students don't have to tote books back and forth. Many schools now offer the choice of a traditional textbook or a CD for students to take home.
Backpack safety is a definite concern that students and parents should be aware of, said Johnson.
"Doing the wrong thing can lead to lots of aches, pains, strains, muscle spasms and it can lead to poor posture," she said.