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Your Healthy Family: The "do's and don'ts" for your child's backpack

Posted at 2:05 PM, Aug 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-11 14:05:24-04

Pediatricians say overloading your child's backpack for school can cause some serious back pain or other issues.

"Kids needs to have things to be able to do their school work, but I think finding ways to be able to transport it back and forth where it has the least affect on their body will be most beneficial," Dr. Blaise Nemeth, who specializes in Pediatric Orthopedics, said.

The American Academy of Pediatrics says a child's backpack should weigh no more than 15 percent of his or her body weight. If a student is 75 pounds, their bag shouldn't weigh more than about 11 pounds.

Dr. Nemeth said to pay attention to your child's posture.

"If you see your child really leaning forward to try to be able to carry that weight, then the backpack's probably too heavy," he said.

To lighten the load, only pack the items needed for that day. Keep the rest at home or in a locker. You could also consider having your child carry two bags.

"One on the back and one of the front to kind of counterbalance," Dr. Nemeth said.

He said to make sure the backpack is right for your child's size. It should have a padded back, and wide straps to distribute the pressure across the body. Both straps need to be worn. Dr. Nemeth also said the heavier things, like textbooks, should be put closer to the child's body.

"A lot of kids will have back pain while they are wearing their back pack, but typically, it should go away after they take if off," he said.

Dr. Nemeth also said book bags with wheels are a good option and might be easier o a child's body, but you have to keep in mind his or her school; are there stairs or is it really crowded? If so, the wheels may be harder to get around.