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
Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 22,…

The Percy Sutton Harlem 5K and NYC Family Health Walk-a-thon and Pakistan Day Parade and Fair will cause traffic delays and street closures in New York City this weekend. Plan…

International

U.N. nuclear inquiry on Iran seen making slow…

The U.N. nuclear watchdog appears to have made only limited progress so far in getting Iran to answer questions about its suspected atomic bomb research, diplomatic sources said on Friday,…

National

Violence-weary Missouri town sees second night of calm

By Nick Carey and Carey GillamFERGUSON Mo. (Reuters) - The violence-weary town of Ferguson, Missouri, saw a second straight evening of relative calm on Thursday…

National

Journalist James Foley's parents, after call with pope,…

The parents of James Foley, the American journalist killed by Islamic State militants in Iraq, on Friday called for prayer and support to free the remaining captives held by Islamic…

Television

Recap: 'The Knick,' Season 1, Episode 3, 'The…

The third episode of Steven Soderbergh's "The Knick" finds Dr. Thackery (Clive Owen) meeting an old flame and other characters embracing self-destruction.

Music

Webcast: Watch Polyphonic Spree live on Sunday Aug.…

Polyphonic Spree singer Tim DeLaughter sits with Metro Music Editor Pat Healy for a chat and then the big band performs live. It begins on Sunday at 9:30 pm

Movies

Matthew Weiner on directing 'Are You Here' and…

"Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner discusses his movie "Are You Here," his history writing comedy and the tiny movie he directed in 1996 you can't see.

Movies

Michael Chiklis on his football past and 'When…

Michael Chiklis remembers playing football in high school and how that prepped him to play a coach in "When the Game Stands Tall."

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Jets storylines to watch

Metro looks at three Jets storylines to watch as they play the Giants Friday.

NFL

Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Tech

Siren: A new dating app that puts women…

Online dating can be brutal, especially for single women. Noting that many women hate wading through inappropriate messages and photos, two tech entrepreneurs decided to…