Concern over children and their backpacks continues to grow. An article appearing in the September 8, 2003 issue of The Times Herald featured this problem by noting, “Trudging their way around the school campus or to the bus stop, hunched-over kids could be dealing themselves a lifetime of back pain, experts warn.”
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The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that 6,512 emergency room visits each year result from injuries related to book bags. CPSC also cites the statistic that backpack-related injuries are up 256 percent since 1996! The issue is so widespread that the California State Assembly passed legislation that forces school districts to develop ways of reducing the weight of students’ backpacks.
The American Chiropractic Association offers the following tips to help prevent backpack problems in school children:
● Make sure your child’s backpack weighs no more than 5 to 10 percent of his or her body weight.
● Backpacks should never hang more then four inches below the waistline.
● Urge your child to wear both shoulder straps, and wide padded straps, they are very important.
● Shoulder straps should be adjustable so the backpack can be fitted to your child’s body.
The over-packing of backpacks was featured in a recent study conducted in Italy. In this study it was found that the average child carries a backpack that would be the equivalent of a 39-pound burden for a 176-pound man or a 29-pound load for a 132-pound woman.
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