Heavy bookbags can cause back problems

Is your child is carrying more than 10 to 20 percent of their body weight in their backpack? Carrying a heavy backpack can cause health problems for your children,  especially if they walk to school or carry their pack on one shoulder.

Carrying a heavy backpack can be a source of ‘chronic, low-level trauma,’ and can cause chronic shoulder, neck and back pain.

When school opens and the backpacks are loaded, observe your child and see if they walk bent over sideways to try to adjust for the heavy load of a backpack.  Are they complaining of back pain or numbness and tingling in his arms or hands?

If the answer is yes to any or all of these questions, you might want to take some steps to minimize the chances that carrying a backpack will cause your child back pain or other health problems. These steps include: limiting the weight your child carries in a backpack to 10 to 20 percent of his body weight; buy a backpack that has wide, padded shoulder straps and a waste belt; avoid messenger type, single strap bags; encourage your child to wear his backpack over both shoulders; and consider using a backpack with wheels.


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