Heavy backpacks have often been associated with related injuries to the back, in children. However, researchers in a new study have found that heavy backpacks cause more injuries to the heads and faces of children than they do to the back. The study was published in the January issue of Pediatrics.
The study covered all children age 6 to 18 whose backpack-related injuries were reported to the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Boys and girls were equally represented and the mean age was 11.8 years. Researchers found that of nearly 250 children who arrived at 100 hospital emergency departments with backpack-related injuries, 22% of the injuries occurred to heads and faces, 14% to hands, 13% to wrists and elbows, 12% to shoulders, 12% to feet and ankles, and only 6% related to the back. Injuries to the face and head were found to be the result of children tripping over a backpack or being hit by one wielded by a companion.
Researchers recommended that children should be directed on the safe use of backpacks like putting them in a safe place so that they do not trip over them and not using them as a weapon to hit another person. Researchers said these precautions alone could eliminate more than 40% of backpack injuries presenting to the emergency department.