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

The effects of happiness and sadness on children's snack consumption

February 19, 2018
A University of Texas at Dallas psychologist has examined the preconceptions about the effects of emotions on children's eating habits, creating the framework for future studies of how dietary patterns evolve in early childhood.

Cycle of infant reflux signals a call to help mothers

February 14, 2018
Western Sydney University research has found that first-time mothers with mental health issues – in particular, maternal anxiety – are five times as likely to have their baby noted as having reflux when admitted to hospital.

Safe-sleep recommendations for infants have not reduced sudden deaths in newborns

February 14, 2018
An analysis of trends in sudden unexpected infant death (SUID) over the past two decades finds that the drop in such deaths that took place following release of the 1992 American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) "back to sleep" ...

Most children with sickle cell anemia not receiving key medication to stay healthy

February 13, 2018
One of the greatest health threats to children with sickle cell anemia is getting a dangerous bacterial infection—but most are not receiving a key medication to reduce the risk, a new study suggests.

Premature babies' low blood pressure puzzle explained

February 13, 2018
Scientists have discovered crucial new information about how a foetus develops which could explain why very premature babies suffer low blood pressure and other health problems.

Babies face higher SIDS risk in certain states

February 12, 2018
(HealthDay)—Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) claims the lives of some 3,500 babies in the United States each year, but its toll is far heavier in some states than others, health officials report.

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.