Back to school time is one of the biggest events of the year for any family with children. We now have three years of practice at my house.

With preschool, prekindergarten and kindergarten behind us, we feel that three years of hard work is finally paying off. We now are ready to go into first grade.

My son, Mark Jr., says he can finally answer the question that everybody asks him with pride now. When he is asked about what grade he's in, he now can say he has a grade.

Monday we attended open house at his school, John Harris Elementary in Sioux Falls. It was a time to see the classroom, fill out a few forms, see old buddies and most importantly, bring all school supplies to the desk and locker.

Everyone is ready for a new school year. All new school supplies, new clothes and the fanciest new shoes to style with.

But the most important item I feel, is the new backpack. You don't use last years. It is important to start the new year with a a new backpack. And of course, the attaching lunch box.

Superheroes, color and size all factor in for looking good. But parents, beware of proper fit. And even more so, the weight carried in the backpack. If it doesn't fit properly and or is too heavy, the child will experience back pain.

Keep in mind that the back pain will be caused day in and day out because the kids use these things every day of the week all school year long. Medical experts warn that this muscle fatigue can cause serious back problems later in adulthood.

An alarming 64 percent of all students have reported feeling pain related to heavy backpacks.

First and foremost when purchasing a backpack, check for fit and comfort. And remember to limit weight of items contained.


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