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When Emily's Backpack Weighs More Than She Does
Having Chronic Back Pain
Lightening the Load
- Use both of the backpack's straps to hold the pack two inches above your waist. Make sure the straps are firmly tightened.
- Tighten the straps so the top is just below the base of the head. When packs are carried low on the back, near the buttocks, it weighs down the spine.
- Use correct lifting techniques. Bend with both knees when picking up a heavy back pack.
- Place the heaviest items close to your back.
- Neatly pack your backpack, and try to keep items in place.
- Try to make frequent trips to your locker between classes to replace books.
- A backpack's weight should not exceed 15% of your child's body weight, and even less for a young child.
- Select a backpack with padded, wide straps and a padded back.
- Use a hip strap for heavier weights.
- If your child's school allows them, consider purchasing a backpack with wheels or a pack with an internal frame.
- Consider purchasing a second set of books for home.
- Buy the smallest backpack possible.
- Clean out your young child's backpack once a week.
- Talk to your child's teacher about sending home only what is absolutely necessary.
American Academy of Family Physicians http://www.familydoctor.org
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons http://www.aaos.org
Canadian Orthopaedic Association http://www.coa-aco.org
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation http://www.canorth.org
Backpack safety. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00043. Updated July 2013. Accessed December 23, 2013.
Backpack safety. Nemours' KidsHealth website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/parent/positive/learning/backpack.html. Updated August 2013. Accessed December 23, 2013.
Skaggs DL, Early SD, D’Ambra P, Tolo VT, Kay RM. Back pain and backpacks in school children. J Pediatr Orthop. 2006;26:358-363.
UCSD researchers report results of children’s backpack study. University of California, San Diego Medical Center website. Available at: http://health.ucsd.edu/news/2005/Pages/12%5F05%5FMacias.aspx. Accessed December 23, 2013.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 12/2013
- Update Date: 12/23/2013