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The letter "B" is for backpack

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Tiffani-Amber Petit, a physical therapy technician with the 509th Medical Operations Squadron, right, helps adjust the backpack straps for Delilah Gordon, a pre-kindergarten student who is the daughter of Staff Sgt. Samuel Gordon, during the Back-to-School Brigade event at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., Aug. 8, 2017. Petit made sure the backpack fit comfortably and did not weigh more than 10 percent of the student’s bodyweight. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Danielle Quilla)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Tiffani-Amber Petit, a physical therapy technician with the 509th Medical Operations Squadron, right, helps adjust the backpack straps for Delilah Gordon, a pre-kindergarten student who is the daughter of Staff Sgt. Samuel Gordon, during the Back-to-School Brigade event at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., Aug. 8, 2017. Petit made sure the backpack fit comfortably and did not weigh more than 10 percent of the student’s bodyweight. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Danielle Quilla)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Kira Otero, a readiness NCO with the Airman & Family Readiness Center (A&FRC), speaks to a family about the programs the center offers during the Back-to-School Brigade event at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., Aug. 8, 2017. In addition to the A&FRC, programs such as Child Care Aware and Exceptional Family Member Program were present to help ensure families had all the resources they needed to make it a successful school year. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Danielle Quilla)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Kira Otero, a readiness NCO with the Airman & Family Readiness Center (A&FRC), speaks to a family about the programs the center offers during the Back-to-School Brigade event at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., Aug. 8, 2017. In addition to the A&FRC, programs such as Child Care Aware and Exceptional Family Member Program were present to help ensure families had all the resources they needed to make it a successful school year. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Danielle Quilla)

A young member of Team Whiteman looks at an Airman & Family Readiness Center informational booklet during the Back-to-School Brigade event at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., Aug. 8, 2017. Students were given tote bag to fill with school supplies and resources to help them start the new school year off right. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Danielle Quilla)

A young member of Team Whiteman looks at an Airman & Family Readiness Center informational booklet during the Back-to-School Brigade event at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., Aug. 8, 2017. Students were given tote bag to fill with school supplies and resources to help them start the new school year off right. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Danielle Quilla)

Parents help their children select school supplies during the Back-to-School Brigade event at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., Aug. 8, 2017. The event was hosted at the Whiteman Elementary School and was open to all active duty, Air National Guardsmen and reservist with children in grades kindergarten through 12th. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Danielle Quilla)

Parents help their children select school supplies during the Back-to-School Brigade event at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., Aug. 8, 2017. The event was hosted at the Whiteman Elementary School and was open to all active duty, Air National Guardsmen and reservist with children in grades kindergarten through 12th. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Danielle Quilla)

Parents help their children select school supplies during the Back-to-School Brigade event at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., Aug. 8, 2017. The event was hosted at the Whiteman Elementary School and was open to all active duty, Air National Guardsmen and reservist with children in grades kindergarten through 12th. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Danielle Quilla)

Parents help their children select school supplies during the Back-to-School Brigade event at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., Aug. 8, 2017. The event was hosted at the Whiteman Elementary School and was open to all active duty, Air National Guardsmen and reservist with children in grades kindergarten through 12th. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Danielle Quilla)

A stack of backpacks wait to be chosen by students during the Back-to-School Brigade event at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., Aug. 8, 2017. A total of 300 backpacks and $2,700 worth of supplies were donated to help students start the new school year right. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Danielle Quilla)

A stack of backpacks wait to be chosen by students during the Back-to-School Brigade event at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., Aug. 8, 2017. A total of 300 backpacks and $2,700 worth of supplies were donated to help students start the new school year right. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Danielle Quilla)

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- Stepping onto the scale, the 4-year-old stood tall in her yellow dress decorated with flowers. As a physical therapy technician recorded her weight on paper, Delilah Gordon, daughter of U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Samuel and Mrs. Sally Gordon, stepped down and placed her bright pink backpack on the scale to be weighed.

Her backpack was filled with free school supplies donated for the Back-to-School Brigade event at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, on Aug. 8, 2017. Approximately 167 families, consisting of active duty, Air National Guardsmen and reservists assigned to different branches, attended the event to collect supplies for the new school year.

“The weight of the backpack should be no more than 10 percent of the child’s bodyweight,” said Senior Airman Tiffani-Amber Petit, a physical therapy technician with the 509th Medical Operations Squadron.

After making sure the backpack was not overweight, Petit helped Delilah adjust the straps to make it more comfortable for her to wear during her pre-kindergarten school year.

“This is the second year a weighing station has been set up to help educate parents on backpack safety,” said Petit. “In addition to the weight of the bag, we gave tips to parents on how to ensure backpacks fit their child better, especially since we had many smaller children at the event.”

According to the American Occupational Therapy Association, more than 79 million students in the United States carry school backpacks.

“Since Whiteman does not have an occupational therapy office, the physical therapy clinic deals with a broader range of issues,” said Petit. “Being a smaller clinic, we currently aren’t actively seeing dependents, however, we enjoy participating in community events as often as possible. It gives us an opportunity to reach out and educate dependents on injury prevention.”

Just like trying on clothes and shoes before buying them, experts say it is just as important to try on backpacks also to find the one that is the right size for the student and has enough room for the necessary school supplies.

With the first day of school beginning on August 17 for Knob Noster and Warrensburg public schools, be sure to keep an eye out for students like Delilah.