Orthopaedic Surgeons Provide Backpack Safety Advice

Posted on August 19, 2013

With kids headed back to school, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons has released a report focused on how kids can be protected from injuries related to backpacks.  If you’re shopping for a new backpack or want your children’s current backpacks to be as safe as possible, make sure that you’re heeding the advice contained therein.

When making the purchase, parents should analyze the available tags to see if the backpack suits their children’s body size.  Kids should also know that the backpack shouldn’t be slung over one shoulder; while they might think this looks cool, it could contribute to back problems.  Instead, both shoulder straps should be utilized.

The backpack should be loaded up with no more than one fifth of a child’s weight in books and other materials.  To make sure this is the case, be positive that children aren’t transporting items they don’t need.  When placing things inside, kids can put the heaviest items closer to their backs so that it doesn’t pull them backward.  When ready to go, the shoulder straps should be cinched tight to further promote back health.

As the school year goes on, parents should continue to monitor their children’s behavior for potential injuries.  If a child complains about pain or numbness or simply looks like they’re having trouble getting the backpack on, see what you might do to limit the load and make sure that your child doesn’t get injured.  With 24,000 such injuries taking place last year alone, according to the CPSC, this is something to take seriously.

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