Is Your Child's Backpack Causing Injury?

Carolina (N.C.) Parent—August 1, 2013

The Consumer Product Safety Commission calculates that carrying a 12-pound backpack to and from school and lifting it 10 times a day for an entire school year puts a cumulative load of 21,600 pounds on a child's body. That's equivalent to six mid-sized cars. Prevent backpack injuries as your child heads back to school with tips from Dr. Shevaun Mackie Doyle, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, and the National Safety Council:

Limit the backpack to no more than 10 percent of your child's body weight.

  • Carry only the items required for that day.
  • Have children use both shoulder straps at all times. If the pack has a waist strap, make sure your child fastens it when walking more than one city block.
  • Wear the backpack over the strongest mid-back muscles. The backpack should rest evenly in the middle of the back and allow your child's arms to move freely.
  • Use proper lifting techniques. Teach your child to bend at the knees and use her legs to lift her backpack, placing one shoulder strap on at a time.

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