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

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

Local

Oval oasis: Summer of fun kicks off this…

A bold partnership between the Fairmount Park Conservancy and the city's Parks and Recreation Department is kicking off this weekend with family activities re-activating this unused public space.

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

MLB

Jimmy Rollins is key to Phillies success

When John Kruk was asked about what the Phillies need to contend for a playoff berth, the ESPN analyst said Jimmy Rollins needs to play like a MVP again.

MLB

Ben Revere lifts Phillies to avoid sweep

Ben Revere came through with a two-out RBI single against Atlanta’s tough lefthander Alex Wood.

NBA

Season wrap: 76ers make the grade

The 76ers opened the 2013-14 season with a victory over the Miami Heat. The Sixers closed the season with a win at Miami.

NBA

Fantasy basketball: Finding next year's NBA studs

Before we put the 2013-14 fantasy basketball season to bed, it’s worth thinking about next year’s breakouts while they’re fresh in our mind.

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.