Modified on 2009/10/14 21:40 by admin
Recently, the advisability of sending children off to school with backpacks laden with heavy books and school supplies has come into question. While the traditional school backpack may be as American as apple pie, many healthcare professionals now recommend that parents take a proactive approach when it comes to selecting the proper backpack for a child.

While it may be fashionable for children to droop their backpacks off of one shoulder, pediatricians and orthopedic specialists say that doing so can cause serious problems. Experts recommend that parents purchase backpacks with wide, padded shoulder straps and a waist belt that raps around the hips. Parents should require their children to use both shoulder straps and the waist belt. The waist belt helps shift some of the load from the shoulders to the hips, were it can be better managed. In addition, the straps and belt should fit tightly.

Overloading causes the majority of pediatric injuries associated with backpacks. While each child is different, the general rule of thumb calls for a load of no more than 20% of the child's weight. For example, if a child weighs 100 pounds, his loaded backpack should not exceed 20 pounds.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), nearly 6,000 children require medical treatment each year due to physical problems caused by backpacks.

In 2002, there were nearly 8,000 emergency room visits related to backpack injuries. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, backpack-related injuries are up 360 percent since 1996.

See Also

  1. Children's Products
  2. Dislocation: Overview
  3. Joints & Muscles: Overview
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