Suitcase Safety Tips

November 30, 2013 in STSMPT

Luggage can sometimes be an awkward and heavy load. Anytime you are pushing, pulling, lifting, and carrying items such as suitcases, they can put a strain on your muscles and joints and cause wear and tear to your back and other parts or your body. When packing for your next vacation, business trip, or visit home, The American Occupational Therapy Association recommends these tips.

1. Choose the Right Suitcase

* Size- Use different size suitcases for different occasions based on the length of your trip

* Material- Avoid bags made of heavy materials, like leather, that will only add extra weight. Instead choose a lighter, more durable material such as vinyl or canvas.

*Extras- Select a suitcase with handles, preferably one with extending, padded handles to help protect the joints in your hands and fingers from excess pressure. In addition, a suitcase with four, large wheels is best for rolling over various surfaces and for better maneuverability.

2. Pack Your Suitcase Correctly

* General- Make a list of what you will need ahead of time and only pack essential items. Consider distributing items, and therefore weight, into two smaller bags instead of having one heavy suitcase.

* Clothing & Shoes- Decide what you will wear in advance and pack only those items. Think about packing less and doing laundry while on your trip. Additionally, pack footwear that can be worn with multiple outfits.

* Toiletries- Take advantage of complimentary toiletries if you stay in a hotel. If you need to pack toiletries, use travel-size versions or put them into small containers.

3. Carry Your Suitcase Correctly

* Carry two lighter suitcases, one in each hand, versus one heavy suitcase in one hand or on your shoulder. Avoid carrying heavy bags for long periods of time. Instead, switch positions to avoid fatigue and overuse of muscles. If your suitcase has wheels, try pushing it in front of you instead of pulling it behind you.

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