According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 14,000 children are treated annually for backpack-related injuries.
Eleonora Kleyman, MD, a pediatrician at Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles Medical Center, encourages parents to pay special attention when choosing backpacks for youths.
A full backpack should never weigh more than 10 to 15 percent of a child’s body weight. To put this in perspective, if a child weighs 75 pounds, his or her backpack should weigh no more than 11 pounds.
Dr. Kleyman suggests these additional tips:
- Fit the backpack closely to the body, resting it in the middle of the back.
- Don’t let the backpack sag. Avoid it falling more than 4 inches below the waistline.
- Place heavier items closest to the center of the back.
Last minute tip on rolling backpacks:
Although some parents may be tempted to purchase a rolling backpack, users tend to overload their rolling backpacks and if the pack has to be lifted continuously, it can cause wrist and/or shoulder strain.