Report: Thousands of students treated for backpack-related injuries per year
Thousands of children are treated annually for injuries related to the weight of their backpacks, according to a U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission report.
Injuries are related to overloaded backpacks, which students often dangle off of one shoulder. This produces stress and can contribute to poor posture and strain along the muscles of the back, neck and shoulders.
"My kid is 90 pounds and her backpack weighs 30," says Marianne Reardon. "She's overloading it with everything."
Approximately 7,800 children from ages 5 to 18 visited the emergency room in 2017 because of their backpacks.
Health experts say backpacks should be situated in their mid-back just above the pant line. Children are also advised to use padded straps on both shoulders and avoid it hanging below their waist.
Dr. Anthony Romeo of Metro Physical and Aquatic Therapy says heavy bags worn incorrectly pose a problem, especially for younger people.
"Their bodies are changing--their muscles are trying to catch up to the way their bones are growing so if you are adding an extra load on top of that--that can also cause some potential injuries," he says.
Physical therapists also say backpacks should be limited to 10% to 15% of the child's weight.
Dr. Romeo also suggests wearing a backpack that also has a waist and chest strap. He says parents should take a photo of their child with and without the backpack to see if their posture changes.