Take the back pain out of backpacks

September 4, 2017

(HealthDay)—Backpacks can mean backaches for schoolchildren, but an orthopedic surgeon has advice for parents and kids about how to keep soreness at bay.

"Parents should inspect their 's backpack from time to time," said Dr. Joshua Hyman of New York-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital in New York City.

Kids "often carry much more than they should, with extra shoes, toys, and other unnecessary items," he explained in a hospital news release.

Hyman suggests that before sending kids off to school, parents should follow these backpack safety tips:

  • Be a weight-watcher. According to Hyman, backpacks shouldn't weigh more than 15 percent of a kid's . That's the equivalent of 7 pounds for a 50-pound child.
  • Lighten the load. If you feel that your child is weighed down by too many textbooks, talk to the teacher about whether any can be left at school. If not, a backpack on wheels may be an option.
  • Two straps are better than one. Encourage your child to wear the straps over both shoulders—not over one shoulder—so the weight of the bag is distributed evenly.
  • Size matters. Get a correctly sized backpack that's not wider or longer than your child's torso, and make sure it doesn't hang more than 4 inches below your kid's waist. A low-hanging backpack could force your child to lean forward while walking.
  • The more padding the better. Look for a backpack with straps that are wide and padded to prevent them from digging into the child's shoulders. Also, look for one with a padded back. This can reduce the risk that your child will be hurt by sharp objects inside the backpack.
  • Watch for signs of trouble. Be on the lookout for pain, posture changes, tingling or red marks due to use. If your child's pain is persistent, talk to your pediatrician.

Explore further: Backpack smarts from a pro

More information: The American Academy of Pediatrics has more about backpack safety.

Related Stories

Backpack smarts from a pro

September 5, 2016
Children are back at school with fresh school supplies, a new set of books, and likely a larger load in their backpack.

Overloaded backpacks can injure kids: experts

August 26, 2012
(HealthDay)—As the school season starts, experts warn that overloaded backpacks often result in back injuries among children.

Backpack safety tips for back to school

August 18, 2013
(HealthDay)—As the start of a new school year approaches, parents need to think about the comfort and safety of their children's backpacks, an expert says.

Trolleys scientifically proven to be more beneficial than backpacks for the back of the children

March 3, 2017
Researchers at the University of Granada (UGR) belonging to the Joint University Institute for Sports and Health (Instituto Mixto Universitario Deporte y Salud, iMUDS), have scientifically proven that trolleys are more beneficial ...

Judge weight and time worn to minimize backpack pain

August 31, 2012
(Medical Xpress)—As students of all ages load up their backpacks for the school year, they may be on their way to creating bad posture habits and increasing their risk for pain.

Recommended for you

Breastfeeding protects infants from antibiotic-resistant bacteria

October 18, 2018
A recent study completed at the University of Helsinki investigated the amount and quality of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in breast milk and gut of mother-infant pairs. The findings have been published in the journal Nature ...

Inflammation in the womb may explain why some babies are more prone to sepsis after birth

October 9, 2018
Each year 15 million infants are born preterm and face high risks of short- and long-term complications, including sepsis, severe inflammation of the gut, and neurodevelopmental disorders. A new report in the American Journal ...

Dummies not to blame for common speech disorder in kids

October 9, 2018
New University of Sydney research shows bottles, dummies, and thumb sucking in the early years of life do not cause or worsen phonological impairment, the most common type of speech disorder in children.

'Genes are not destiny' when it comes to weight

October 9, 2018
A healthy home environment could help offset children's genetic susceptibilities to obesity, according to new research led by UCL.

Old drug could have new use helping sick premature babies

October 8, 2018
Researchers from The University of Western Australia, King Edward Memorial Hospital and Curtin University are investigating whether an old drug could be used to help very sick premature babies.

Insufficient sleep associated with risky behavior in teens

October 1, 2018
Adolescents require 8-10 hours of sleep at night for optimal health, according to sleep experts, yet more than 70 percent of high school students get less than that. Previous studies have demonstrated that insufficient sleep ...

0 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.