Can Heavy School Bags Cause Back Problems?

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For many children, heading off to school means toting a bag filled to the brim with books. While your little learner trudging along under an impossibly huge book bag may make for an adorable sight, allowing your youngster to tote an excessively large bag could have a long-lasting effect on his spine. To ensure that your child’s backpack weight doesn’t leave him with a host of back problems to deal with later in life, take precautions when it comes to your child’s backpack size.


Prevalence

Wearing an overly heavy book bag is quite common among children. As Children’s Hospital Boston reports, some children carry bookbags that weigh as much as 30 percent of their body weight. This means that a 100-lb. child might be heading off to school lugging a sack of books that weighs as much as 30 lb. on a regular basis.

Dangers

When children wcarry school bags that are excessively loaded with books on a regular basis, they run the risk of causing permanent damage to their spines. Among other things, an excessively heavy backpack can lead to rounding of the shoulders, distortion of the natural middle and lower back curves, and increased risk of falling, as the wearer may find himself constantly leaning forward.

The One-sided Wearer

Some children put themselves at risk for back injury just because they wear their backpack incorrectly. As KidsHealth reports, children who sling their backpacks over one shoulder instead of wearing them as recommended may damage their lower backs, or put strain on their shoulders or necks, because they are constantly leaning to one side.

Safe Weight Range

To decrease the likelihood that your child suffers a back injury as a result of carrying an excessively heavy backpack, monitor the weight of your child’s school bag. As Spine-Health.com reports, children should never carry backpacks that are in excess of 15 percent of their body weight. This means that a 100-lb. child can safely wear a backpack that is up to 15 lb., and a 150-lb. child can wear one that weighs up to 22.5 pounds.

Picking a Pack

Selecting the right backpack can also help ensure that your child’s back doesn’t bear the brunt of heavy books. When seeking a new schoolbag for your child, select one that is lightweight, as this will reduce the weight that the pack itself places on your child’s shoulder. Also, look for a pack with two padded, adjustable straps. The padding helps distribute weight more evenly over your child’s shoulders, and the adjustable straps ensure that you can fit the pack to your child.

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