Parents and kids should consider lightening
backpacks to help avoid backpack-related injuries, urge The American Academy of
Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) and the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North
are designed to distribute the weight of load among some of the body's
strongest muscles. However, if not worn correctly, backpacks can cause
injuries. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) more than
28,600 individuals were treated in hospitals and doctors' offices for injuries
related to backpacks in 2013, and more than 8,500 of those injuries were kids
5-18 years old.
backpacks may injure muscles and joints and can lead to severe back, neck, and
shoulder pain, as well as posture problems," said orthopaedic surgeon and
AAOS spokesperson Daniel Green, MD. "Parents
and teachers should educate kids on the proper way to wear a backpack to reduce
the risk of injury."
BACKPACK SAFETY TIPS:
AAOS and POSNA
recommend the following tips to help eliminate discomfort and reduce the risk
of backpack-related injuries.
shoulder straps to keep the weight of the backpack better distributed and
adjust the shoulder straps to keep the load close to the back. A crossbody
bag can also be a good alternative.
Remove or organize items if too heavy and pack the heavier things low and
towards the center.
When lifting backpacks, bend at the knees.
School backpacks are for schoolwork. Carry only those items that are required
for the day. If possible, leave books at home or school.
At home and at school, keep walkways clear of backpacks to avoid tripping
Parents also can help with backpack-related pain:
Encourage your child or teenager to tell you about
numbness or tingling in the arms or legs which may indicate poor fit or too
much weight being carried.
If the backpack seems too heavy for the child, have them remove some of the
books and carry them in their arms to ease load on the back.
Purchase a backpack appropriate for the size of your child.
Watch your child put on or take off the backpack to see if it is a struggle.
Encourage your child to stop at their locker throughout the day, as time
permits, to drop off heavier books.