The letter "B" is for backpack
By Staff Sgt. Danielle Quilla, 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
/ Published August 18, 2017
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.