Weights of Backpacks
Each year, there are many news stories about school children's backpacks. Parents are cautioned about the maximum amount of weight children should carry. There is experimental evidence demonstrating the immediate, physiological effects of children standing, walking and climbing stairs with heavy backpack loads.
Researchers have shown that backpack load affects children in various ways: forward deviation of the trunk and neck, gait efficiency and demand on hips and knees, postural stability and control, plantar pressure distribution, lumbar disc height and asymmetry and blood pressure. Given that children are still developing physically, regularly carrying heavy loads can contribute to pain and injuries in the lower back, shoulders, and joints. Heavy backpacks may increase the chances of children falling. These adverse health effects are exacerbated when backpacks are not worn properly; such as when they are carried low or on only one shoulder. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission estimated that almost 10,000 serious injuries associated with backpacks and book bags occurred in 2011. That estimate is based on emergency department patient records that mention backpacks and book bags in association with injuries.
Despite these potential problems, there are no clear guidelines regarding safe backpack weight. Experts say children's loaded backpacks should weigh less than 10% -15% of their body weight. Surprisingly few children carried backpacks whose weight met he most conservative guidelines recommended. In light of the potential health hazards and potential health consequences, teachers and school administrators should attempt to reduce the number of books/binders carried to school daily. California state statute required the Board of CA Education to adopt maximum weight standards for children's textbooks this year.
Parents need to review information of healthier ways to wear backpack, safety of straps, and use strategies to reduce backpack contents. As their child's primary health giver, they can aid in preventing future back injuries and risk of accidents related to not wearing a backpack correctly.
Upcoming health screenings: Dental Screening with our School Dentist, Dr. John Bush on March 10 th .