Overloaded backpacks can injure kids: experts

Overloaded backpacks can injure kids: experts
Some tips to lighten the load as the school year approaches.

(HealthDay)—As the school season starts, experts warn that overloaded backpacks often result in back injuries among children.

More than 13,700 kids aged 5 to 18 were treated in hospitals and doctors' offices for backpack-related injuries in a single year, according to the U.S. .

The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) advises parents and caregivers to pay close attention to children's posture and not wait for them to complain about back pain before lightening their load.

"When used correctly, backpacks can be a good way to carry the necessities of the school day," Dr. Melanie Kinchen, an and AAOS spokeswoman, said in an academy news release. "Backpack injuries are commonly caused by wearing overloaded backpacks, as well as lifting and carrying them incorrectly. should guide kids to take . Start by choosing a backpack that is appropriately sized for your child or have them use a rolling backpack as an alternative to carrying their heavy load on their shoulders."

The academy suggested several additional ways to help children avoid pain and discomfort from wearing a backpack.

  • Use both shoulder straps to evenly distribute the weight of the backpack.
  • Tighten the straps and use a waist strap if available.
  • Place the biggest items in the backpack closest to the back, but remove anything that is too heavy.
  • Bend at the knees and use the legs when picking up a backpack.
  • Only carry essential items in the backpack. Leave extra books at home or school whenever possible.
  • Do not leave backpacks in aisles or walkways to avoid falls.
  • Parents and caregivers should encourage children to speak up about any pain or discomfort they feel while wearing their backpack, particularly or tingling in the arms or legs.
  • Children should only wear backpacks that are appropriate for their size.
  • Parents and caregivers should be aware of any posture changes in their child or red marks on their shoulders from wearing their backpack.
  • Parents should talk to schools about ways to lighten children's load, such as allowing them to stop at their lockers during the day or taking the weight of students' backpacks into account when preparing lessons.

More information:
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers back-to-school health tips.


add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Heavy rucksacks storing up back problems for many school-kids

Mar 15, 2012

Significant numbers of teens regularly carry rucksacks for school which top 10 to 15 per cent of their body weight and risk back pain and other related disorders, finds research published online in the Archives of Disease in ...

Heavy metal hardens battle

Jul 20, 2011

The French may have had a better chance at the Battle of Agincourt had they not been weighed down by heavy body armour, say researchers.

Recommended for you

ER visits on the rise, study reports

11 hours ago

(HealthDay)—The number of emergency department visits in the United States rose from about 130 million in 2010 to a record 136 million in 2011, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.