Good backpack habits help protect backs

With students back in school, it is important to have a good backpack which helps distribute the weight of the books to the body’s strongest muscles.

If the backpack is worn improperly, it can cause injuries. Injuries can be minor, but sometimes they can leave lasting effects. Injuries can include sprains, strains and posture problems.

More than 24,000 backpack injuries occurred in the U.S. in 2012. More than 9,500 of those cases happened to children 5 to 18, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commision.

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) say that “Kids should carry no more than 15 to 20 percent of their body weight.”

Some helpful tips include using both of the shoulder straps and adjusting the backpack to the size of the child. Wider shoulder straps are also encouraged because they do not cause pain or restrict circulation.

Heavier items should be placed low and in the center. If the backpack is too heavy, a person should remove or reorganize items or this could cause a person’s back to hurt.

Sophomore Connie Feng said,  “My back does hurt because of the heavy books.”

Children should only pack items that are needed for the day. They should also be encouraged to stop at their lockers during breaks to put away heavier books.

“I carry various books so I do not have to get trampled when I go to my locker,” said sophomore Janelle Inao.

Parents should watch if the child is struggling to pick up her backpack. If she is having difficulty, she should take out some books and carry them in her arms.


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