As you begin to prepare for the new school year, consider how much weight will rest on your child’s shoulders. Millions of students in the United States carry backpacks overloaded with textbooks, sports equipment and more, to and from school. But the weight of the backpack and how it is worn could lead to back problems. If a backpack weighs more than 15 percent of a child’s body weight, it could induce back pain. Backpacks should weigh much less; additionally, they should be worn on both shoulders for equal weight distribution with the height falling two inches below the shoulder blades and sitting at waist level. …
Do you know how much your child’s backpack weighs? If it’s more than 15 percent of his or her body weight, then it could hurt your child’s back. Millions of students in the United States carry backpacks to and from school, often overloaded with books, sports equipment and more. Weight of the backpack isn’t the only issue; how the bag is worn can also lead to back problems. Backpacks should be worn on both shoulders for equal weight distribution, and the height should fall two inches below the shoulder blades and sit at waist level.
Pierre d’Hemencourt, MD, of Boston Children’s Division of Sports Medicine, answers a few questions about children and backpack safety.
Can heavy backpacks really cause back problems for my child?
This issue is a bit controversial because there’s no specific proof heavy backpacks are a direct cause of back problems. During adolescence kids are going through growth spurts and so their bones and posture are susceptible to many things, from sport injury to lugging overly heavy backpacks. However, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the American Physical Therapy Association have set out guidelines that should be used with backpacks to reduce the risks associated with them. …
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