Beware of backpack book weight

The weight of your child’s backpack could lead to serious musculoskeletal problems including scoliosis or curvature of the spine.  Results of a 900 student study published in 2009 in the journal WORK: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment & Rehabilitation stated that more than 50 percent of the group indicated that their backpack weight was heavy and more than 30 percent experienced some form of pain due to the use of a backpack.

What should be the ideal weight of a backpack?  Some experts say that a child should not carry more than 10 to 20 percent of their body weight in a backpack.  Some studies indicate that the ideal weight should be less 10 percent of their body weight.

Here are some tips to minimize impact of a heavy backpack on your child’s back:

  • Use a padded backpack with wide, padded shoulder and waist strap.
  • Pack heavy books on the back that rest against your child’s body.
  • Train them to bend their knees when lifting a backpack.
  • If your child’s school allows, use a rolling backpack.
  • Make sure the weight is distributed properly on child’s back.
  • Seek medical help if the child has any persistent pain.

Encourage use of a locker at school for heavy stuff.