Doctors' Tips for Backpack Safety08/25/13
SUNDAY, Aug. 25 (HealthDay News) -- If made well and used
properly, backpacks are ideal for carrying school books and
supplies, but they can be uncomfortable and even lead to injury if
they're too heavy or if children don't wear them properly, doctors
"When used correctly, backpacks are the most efficient way to carry a load and distribute the weight among some of the body's strongest muscles," Dr. Eric Wall, at the orthopedic surgery division of Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, said in a center news release. "However, parents need to carefully select a backpack to ensure that they are comfortable and do not cause injury."
Doctors at the medical center recommend the following backpack
guidelines for parents:
- Keep it light.A backpack should be lightweight and no more
than 15 or 20 percent of a child's body weight.
- Look for padding.A child's backpack should have two wide and
padded shoulder straps and a cushioned back.
- Consider straps.Children's backpacks should have a waist
strap. Parents should remind their children to also use both
shoulder straps and make sure they are tight.
- Keep it balanced.Students should organize their books so the
heaviest are centered. They should also spread out their supplies,
using all of the backpack's compartments.
- Lighten the load.Encourage kids to stop at their locker to
remove any unnecessary books from their backpack so they are not
carrying extra weight during the day.
- Teach proper lifting.Children should bend their knees and
use their legs when lifting a backpack.
- Be aware of surroundings.Remind children to not swing their
backpack if other people are standing nearby. They should also not
leave their backpack on the floor where someone might trip over
Backpacks often lead to shoulder or back pain. Children who
complain about this discomfort should be evaluated by a doctor, the
The American Academy of Pediatrics provides more information on
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Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.