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Backpack Safety and Comfort


Did you know that 60% of children will experience back pain by the time they are 18?

There are about 40 million teenagers that carry a backpack to school every day. Recently, the Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a warning concerning injuries related to back packs. They estimate that "3,300 children aged 5-14 were treated in the emergency rooms last year for injuries related to book bags".


Helpful Tips


1. Distribute the weight evenly. Put the heavier items on the bottom of the bag to keep the weight off the shoulders.

2. Use both shoulder straps. Using just one side can lead to imbalance of muscles, poor posture, and improper walking.

3. Use a backpack with heavily padded shoulder straps and a lumbar support.

4. If the backpack has a strap on the bottom to go around the waist then use it. This takes a lot of the load off the shoulder joint.

5. Carry only what is needed. Go through your child's backpack with them, encourage then to only bring those books necessary to school for the day and use the school lockers to hold the books that aren't in use.

6. Try a bag with wheels. There are many options, even for children, that encourage good posture while lugging around all those books.

Lead by example. Back packs aren't just for kids. Adults use them for hiking, traveling and day- to-day uses. Show your child it's okay to use proper body mechanics to avoid


What Do You Know About Back Packs


1. Children should be carrying no more than 10-15% of their body weight.

· 50 lbs should carry no more than 7.5 lbs

· 80 lbs should carry no more than 12 lbs

· 100 lbs should carry no more than 15 lbs

· 130 lbs should carry no more than 19.5 lbs


2. Females are 2x more likely to have back pain. Spine 2003;28(9):922- 930


3. Adolescents with back pain carry significantly heavier backpacks than those without back pain. Spine 2003;28(9):922- 930


4. Back packs can cause shoulder pain, low back pain and poor posture- According to a study at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center.


5. Older students (12-18 years) magnify possible back problems because they carry their backpack using only one strap. This can cause scoliosis or other permanent problems.


6. NPR reported that in 1998, 65% of children's visits to doctors were from back pain.

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