Tips For Smart Packing

Although it may be tempting to pack that extra outfit or last pair of shoes for your holiday travel, those who are victims of overpacking find themselves at a higher risk for injury.

According to the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission, more than 53,000 people were treated in hospital emergency rooms, doctors' offices and clinics for injuries related to luggage. These injuries included strains, pulls and tears from carrying a heavy suitcase or lifting bags incorrectly from claim carousels or overhead bins.

This year the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons has released recommendations to help you carry your baggage safely. Here are some of the Academy's strategies:

*    Pack lightly. When possible, pack items in a few smaller bags instead of one large luggage piece.

*    When lifting bags, bend at the knees and lift with your leg muscles, not your back and waist.

*    When placing luggage in an overhead bin, lift it onto the top of the seat first. Then, with hands situated on the left and right sides of the suitcase, lift it up. Make sure the wheel-side is set in the compartment first.

*    If using a backpack, make sure it has two padded and adjustable shoulder straps. Pack heavier things low and towards the center, and wear both straps.

*    When purchasing new luggage, look for a sturdy, light piece with wheels and a handle.

*    Ask someone for help if the piece is too heavy to lift.

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