Friday, September 16, 2011

Is Your Child's Backpack Safe?

Now that it's back to school, have you noticed your child's backpack and what he or she may be carrying?  Have you ever thought about the safety of your back while you are toting your books and belongings to school or work?  Or do you rarely give second thought to carrying those extra pounds on your back?

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine researched children and back pain associated with backpacks and concluded information that shouldn't go ignored.

In a test of ten students, boys and girls, thirteen years of age, backpacks were fitted to each student with pressure sensors to test them carrying 10%, 20% and 30% of each of their body weight for 30 seconds.  With each increase in weight, were increased pain levels.  According to UCSD, studies have shown that children commonly carry 22% of their body weight on their back, which can be attributed to
  • Posture change
  • Spine curvature
  • Back pain
  • Shoulder pain
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) annual estimates "there are nearly 7,500 emergency room visits due to injuries related to backpacks or book bags" (National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, Consumer Product Safety Commission, 2004). 

Now, to answer yesterday's Quiz Question From the Doc :

Q: As a rule of thumb, what percent of a child's body weight is the recommended safe weight limit for that child's full backpack?
A: According to Backpack Safety America, the recommended safe weight limit for a child's full backpack is up to 10% of a child's body weight.

Tips for backpack safety:
  1. Make sure your child's backpack weighs no more than 10% of their body weight.  This will prevent your child from slouching forward while carrying their backpack.
  2. Backpacks should be worn over both shoulders.
  3. Backpacks should be positioned square on the back, close to the body, with the bulk of the weight at the waist.
  4. Minimize what is carried in the backpack.
  5. Backpacks should have wide shoulder straps to help carry weight effectively.
  6. When backpack has a waist strap--use it.
Best in health, naturally,

Dr. Marc


Lindsay R September 23, 2011 at 9:47 AM  

I remember when this was first a big issue. It is a shame that they make kids carry so many heavy books! This is great info to get out there.


Health Disclaimer

This information on this web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting Dr. Marc, your pediatrician or family doctor.

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