Heavy backpacks mean trouble, doctors advise

Watch the weight of your child's backpack.
Watch the weight of your child’s backpack.

Be careful about what you pack into your little tykes’ backpacks. Heavy backpacks can have serious medical implications, according to experts. Thousands of students arrive in local emergency rooms each year with backpack-related injuries.

Dr. John Blanco, pediatric orthopedic surgeon at Hospital for Special Surgery, spoke to us about keeping students’ spines safe. Many families might not think of what can happen when students’ backpacks are overloaded, he says.

But most of those kids come in complaining of back pain, and families often are worried about scoliosis, he says, which is not caused by weight like backpacks. But back pain can be, he said.

Many in the danger zone are middle- and high-school students, he says.

“They’re carrying around a 30-pound backpack all day long,” he says. He continues, “There are common-sense things that a lot of families don’t realize they can do to make a backpack more manageable for their child.”

Tips for watching your child’s back:

1. Know the suggested weights. The American Academy of Pediatrics keeps suggestions of how families should choose backpacks and how their children should wear them. “A lot of families just don’t have any idea of how a child should wear a backpack,” Blanco says. He suggests no more than 10 to 20 percent of a student’s body weight as a measure.

 

2. Straps matter. “Look for a backpack that has very wide, padded shoulder straps,” he says. “They should always have two shoulder straps, and tell your child to put their arms through both shoulder straps. You see a lot of kids that fling the backpack only on one shoulder. By having it on both shoulders, it distributes the weight better.” And that dorky waist strap? Use it. “By cinching the waist strip, it brings the backpack firmly against your body.”

 

3. Check out the actual backpack. “Some backpacks weigh a ton with nothing even in them,” he notes. “Find a light backpack that fits the bill.” Other alternatives? A rolling backpack, if your child doesn’t mind being one of the only students with one. Many students don’t want them, Blanco says, but, using them “means that they’re not putting any weight on their back at all.”

 


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

At 91, Marvel creator Stan Lee continues to…

By Piya Sinha-RoyLOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Marvel Entertainment's chief emeritus Stan Lee may be in his ninth decade, but it hasn't stopped him from adding…

National

Islamic State says beheads U.S. journalist, holds another

Islamic State insurgents released a video purportedly showing the beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley, who had gone missing in Syria nearly two years ago.

Local

VIDEO: NYPD seeks shooter in East New York…

Cops are on the lookout for an unknown shooter who aimed and missed hitting a man on a bicycle, instead nearly striking a nearby officer in East New York.

Local

NYS state forces thrift shops comply with ban…

Nine New York City thrift shops were reprimanded by the state attorney general for selling children's clothes with drawstrings around the neck and waist.

Television

'Pretty Little Liars' recap: Season 5, Episode 11,…

Caleb's not a ghost. Spencer might still be an attempted murderer. And Hanna's going to die next week. In other words, we actually got some…

Movies

At 91, Marvel creator Stan Lee continues to…

Marvel Entertainment's Stan Lee is adding outposts to his creative empire to interest a new generation of children in super heroes of all shapes and sizes.

Television

Mira Sorvino explores immortality on 'Intruders'

Mira Sorvino's new show "Intruders" centers around a secret society that achieves immortality by taking over the bodies of other people.

Television

5 things you need to know about new…

"Doctor Who" returns Saturday with a new star, Peter Capaldi. Here's some things to know about him (mainly his turn as sweary spin doctor Malcolm Tucker).

MLB

Shane Greene travels unlikely road to Yankees stardom

Shane Greene was throwing a bullpen session on a quiet field at Daytona Beach Community College one day when the ball started moving.

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL tight ends (TE)

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: Angels supplant A's, Nationals climb

MLB Power Rankings: Angels supplant A's, Nationals climb

NFL

David Wilson returns to triple jump, sets sights…

Giants fans know David Wilson can jump. They are just more used to seeing him go for backflips, not distance.

Style

11 timeless gifts for registries or just because

Gifts to prove you're a style maven once and for all.

Parenting

How everyday moments can inspire kids' creativity

"The Artist's Way for Parents" author Julia Cameron gives advice on how parents and children can be creative together.

Tech

How to stay safe online

Stop worrying about keeping your online passwords safe, and start worrying about keeping your username a secret. Actually, worry about both. According to Shaun Murphy…

Tech

OpenTable now lets you pay your bill via…

The restaurant app OpenTable added the ability to pay your bill (and tip) with your phone, thus cutting back on a few dining annoyances.