Backpacks are a staple of the modern school system. But a growing number of students are arriving at doctors’ office due to injuries related heavy backpacks. Severe back pain, neck aches, headaches and falls can occur from inordinately heavy backpacks. So what can a parent do prevent these problems? To learn more about heavy backpacks affecting kids’ health, check out the Heavy Backpack Safety FAQ list below.
Heavy Backpack Safety FAQ
1. I noticed that my child is always stooped forward or backwards when wearing their backpack. Can heavy backpacks cause long-term back problems?
Unfortunately yes, during last few years there have been over twenty studies within the medicinal profession that shows that improperly worn or very heavy backpacks may cause long term damage to a young child’s growing spine.
Solution: Teach your child how to lift a heavy backpack the right way. Set down the pack with the straps facing the child. Have them loosen the straps slightly. Have your child stand close to the pack and lunge one knee forward. Bend the knees slightly and using both hands to grasp the pack and set it the top of the forward knee. Now, have them lift it a second time onto their back while slipping their arms into the straps.
2. My kid has been complaining about strange feelings and pain in their back, neck and arms after wearing their school backpack. Can wearing heavy backpacks affecting kid’s health be true?
In a study conducted by Auburn University researchers in 1997, it was discovered that the most common symptom reported from backpack use was condition nicknamed “rucksack palsy.” This condition is caused when undue pressure is placed upon the nerves and veins in the shoulder resulting in tingling or numbness in the hands, possible muscle wasting, and in extreme cases, permanent nerve damage.
Solution: First, get your child examined by a physician to check for any long-term damage. Second, change to a kid’s backpack that fits their smaller torso and has wide, well padded shoulder straps.
3. I think my child’s backpack is too heavy? What should I do?
A child’s backpack shouldn’t weigh more than 15% of their total body weight. So a 70 lb kid should be carrying anything over 10 lbs.
Solution: Lighten the load. Weigh your child’s backpack to see how heavy it really is. Leave unnecessary items at home. An ounce here and an ounce there can add up over time. Work with your kid’s teachers to stop the backpack overload.
4. I hear so much about how risky heavy backpacks on kids can be, is there a backpack that is safer to wear?
All backpacks if properly fitted and worn correctly are considered safe for your child to wear. But be wary of backpacks with very narrow or spaghetti straps, or ones made of materials like thick leather or heavy canvas (leather may look cool but it adds unnecessary pounds).
Solution: Choose a backpack that is made out of lighter weight materials, lots of pockets to help distribute the weight evenly and a waist strap to help stabilize the overall load.
Understanding just how heavy backpacks affecting kids’ health can be prevented is first step that any parent needs to take to stop long term problems and costly doctor visits.