Occupational therapy practitioners and students can help educate the public about backpack, purse, and briefcase safety by holding a weigh-in targeting backpacks, purses, briefcases, purses, or other heavy bags.
Plan Your Weigh-In
The first step is to secure a venue. Talk with the principal and/or administrator in charge of scheduling (in a school) or the manager of other facilities to request permission to hold the event (see the sample request forms below). Be sure to share the date, times, desired room or area, anticipated number of attendees, number of adults volunteering at the event, and so forth.
Well before the event consider what you will need:
- At least one scale
- A Weigh-In sheet
- Stickers or other artwork
- Enough occupational therapy practitioners or adults to assist (be sure to provide them with training)
- Charts showing the maximum suggested backpack or bag weight for different body weights (no more than 10%) for those who prefer not to be weighed.
- Signed permission slips
- A display table for materials
Share and Get Ideas
National School Backpack Awareness Day™ is a collaborative event. To share ideas, ask for suggestions, etc., use the Backpack Day forum on OTConnections.
Target Your Event
The following are examples of what to focus on during a weigh-in:
- Weigh-in events have been very successful in demonstrating to students, teachers, and parents just how heavy some of those backpacks can get. And they're fun! The children and young adults enjoy it, and that makes learning much easier.
- Schools and universities are the natural choices for venue, or wherever individuals with backpacks can be found.
- Over the years, purses have grown larger to accommodate the daily load that women carry every day. Although these large purses seem convenient, they're also potentially causing future neck, shoulder, and back problems.
- Shopping malls are the natural choice for venue, or wherever individuals who buy and sell purses can be found.
- Many men and women haul documents, laptops, and notebook computers back and forth to work each day. If improperly packed and carried, these briefcases can cause serious neck, shoulder, and back problems.
- Corporate parks and commuter stations are natural choices of venue, or wherever individuals who buy, sell, and use briefcases can be found.
- Suitcases can be a burden to the already stressful task of traveling. If properly packed and carried, consumers can travel stress free and avoid the aches and pains associated with heavy suitcases.
- Airports and commuter stations are natural choices for venue, or wherever individuals who buy, sell, and use suitcases can be found.
Promote Your Event
A weigh-in has all the elements of a great news story. Plus, the pictures can be so disarming! Don't miss out on a great chance to introduce your local media to occupational therapy and how it can help individuals of all ages live life to its fullest (click here for a sample media advisory and public service announcement).
Don’t limit yourself to coverage by traditional media, however. Promote your event on Facebook, Twitter, the venue’s Web site, blogs, and so forth. But be sure to err on the side of caution, however: Don’t share photos of attendees unless you have their permission to do so, particularly those who are less than 18 years of age.