As of 2006, the Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that 7,353 emergency room visits each year result from injuries related to backpacks. The CPSC also reports that backpack-related injuries are up 330% since 1996.
According to the American Chiropractic Association, backpacks are the leading cause of back and shoulder pain for millions of children and adolescents each year, and children are suffering from back pain much earlier than previous generations.
A recent scientific experiment found that carrying a backpack alters the mobility of spinal bones, leading to restricted movement – a risk factor for back pain
Another study using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to examine the effect of backpacks on their intervertebral discs of the spine, the fluid-filled “pillows” between spinal bones. According to the article, backpacks alter the fluid content of these discs, a risk factor for disc herniation (“slipped” disc) and osteoarthritis.
“ School backpacks, parents and educators complain, are getting heavier, bulging with textbooks and loose leaf binders and sometimes musical instruments, laptops and lunch bags. As a result, orthopedists warn children are increasingly at risk for back pain, muscular strain and hunched posture.”
To quantify how much weight children are likely to carry in their backpacks, researchers from Milan, Italy ascertained the weight of all the backpacks used by sixth graders at several schools.
The average load carried daily was 20.5 lbs., reaching as much as 27.5 lbs. with a maximum daily load averaging 25.3 lbs. Over one-third of the students carried more than 30% of their body weight at least once during the week.
Backpacks Aren’t Just Causing Problems in the United States Zimbler S. Pediatric Alert 2000; 25 (1):5
Can you tell me how I go about getting something done for my 12 year-old daughter who carries approximately 35 lbs on her back because of her backpack? She weighs around 110 lbs and complains about terrible back pain every day! She is in the 7 th grade. I tried to move her backpack out of my Tahoe, and I am 34, and I could barely budge it. Can anything be done? Where do I start? Please help us out… Thanks!!!!
Today they’ll be learning hundreds of things that will influence their lives down the road. And the world forever.
How NOT to Wear Your Backpack WRONG : This backpack is overloaded, creating stress on the spine. Improper backpack use can lead to a lifetime of health problems. WRONG : Wearing a backpack improperly over one shoulder can cause permanent misalignment of the spine, muscle fatigue, and a lowered state of health.
Safety Tips Step 1: Choose Right Choosing the right size backpack is the most important step to safe backpack use. Tip: Bring a friend to help you measure your backpack properly.
Safety Tips Step 2: Pack Right The maximum weight of the loaded backpack should not exceed 15% of your body weight, so pack only what is needed. Tip: If the backpack forces the wearer to move forward to carry, it's overloaded.
Face the Pack -Bend at the Knees - Use both hands and check the weight of the pack - Lift with the legs - Apply one shoulder strap and then the other. Step 3: Lift Right Tip: Don't sling the back-pack onto one shoulder. Safety Tips
Step 4: Wear Right Tip: When the backpack has a waist strap - use it. Safety Tips Use both shoulder straps - snug, but not too tight.
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