Heavy backpacks can be big trouble for kids

CNN NEWS
Friday, August 16, 2013 - 3:17pm

It is back to school season and that means students are hitting the books, but lugging around hefty backpacks can bring on back pain.

Often everything a child needs at school can be found in one place - on their back.

From books and notebooks to pencils and other school supplies, it all gets toted around in a backpack, but all that stuff can really add up in weight, according to Dr. David Marshall, Medical Director of Sports Medicine at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.

Marshal said, "We're starting to see more and more back pain complaints in the doctors and the sports medicine offices and the question is... is there a correlation between back packs and back pain?"

Marshall explained how he advises his own daughter to properly wear her backpack.

He said, "The way she has it adjusted out it's way to low.. the weight of the backpack should never be lower than the waist line so the straps should be adjusted so that the backpack fits high up on her shoulders. The shoulder straps need to be two of them not just one and also they need to be wide and padded."

He recommends the use of an abdominal strap, "That will also help redistribute the load evenly across child's back without having the effect of 10 pounds pulling back on their shoulders then."

Experts recommend these bags not weigh more than about ten to fifteen percent of the students body weight, also so that the child does not fall or bump into another student.

If that's not feasible, students may want to purchase a rolling backpack. 

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