blog-imgWith the full swing of back to school in the air much of the chatter is about what clothes are the rage or what tech tool is the must have this year.

It is critical for parents and students to understand the health ramifications of their apparel, more specifically BACKPACK SAFETY. When you categorize it under safety it almost sounds like overkill.

More than 24,000 people were treated in U.S. hospitals and doctors’ offices for backpack-related injuries in 2012, and more than 9,500 of those patients were aged 5 to 18, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The reality is that when spines are growing and forming they can have tremendous influence by back packs and yes as your grandmother told you posture. These injuries can be acute but may also follow you into adult life as chronic and degenerative so it is critical to address these issues now.

Typically the maximum weight a child should carry is about 10% of their body weight. It does not take much to weigh down a 60 pound child’s backpack where it reaches detrimental proportions.

Key safety issues with backpacks are as mentioned limiting weight to proportional body weight, balancing the load in the pack, choosing a pack with wider shoulder straps to disperse the weight and of course always using both shoulder straps to balance the load. When carrying heavier items, place them closest to the lower back in the pack so the load is less stressful on the spine.

When purchasing a backpack bigger is not always better. Consider the size of your child and try to match accordingly. In addition a waist strap to stabilize the load is beneficial.

When loaded if you notice that your child is leaning the head forward to compensate for the load in the backpack an alarm bell should go off and you will need to revisit the contents.

If you have any further questions or concerns call our office and we will be happy to do hands on evaluation or email us at

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