Backpack safety for back-to-school

Rosemont, IL – With a new school year beginning soon, two orthopaedic groups have released tips to help kids avoid backpack-related injuries.

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America warn that wearing a backpack that is too heavy or improperly positioned could result in sprains, strains or posture problems. More than 9,500 such injuries occurred among children 5-18 years old in 2012, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

To avoid injuries, the groups advise students to:

  • Carry no more than 15-20 percent of their body weight.
  • Use both shoulder straps and adjust them to keep the load close to the back.
  • Remove items if the backpack is too heavy and pack the heaviest things low and in the center.
  • If possible, leave books at home or school instead of carrying them back and forth.

Parents also can help by purchasing the right-size backpack for their child, and asking if their child has any numbness or tingling in the arms, which could indicate the backpack is too heavy or fits poorly.