Heavy backpacks can lead to back problems for kids

The weight of a child’s backpack can be bad for their back, possibly leading to chronic back pain. / WTNH
The weight of a child’s backpack can be bad for their back, possibly leading to chronic back pain. / WTNH

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The weight of a child’s backpack can be bad for their back, possibly leading to chronic pain. Physicians say backpacks can cause health problems if they weigh more than 10 to 20 percent of a child’s body weight.

“It’s a constant problem. The backpacks can weigh more than the child sometimes,” said Dr. Mark Lee of the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.

Heavy backpacks can cause muscular back pain and lower back pain.

“Most of the time, if the backpack is way too heavy, you will see kids either leaning way forward or way backward,” said Lee.

What can be done to prevent back problems?

“The best thing you can do is get a backpack that is well-padded along the back, and encourage a child to wear a backpack with two straps,” Lee said.

Kids admit it’s not easy lugging around books all day.

“It’s not usually too heavy, but sometimes it’s heavy,” said fourth-grader Theo Dufoasn.

“Encourage them to try to go to the locker frequently, or if you have electronic media, like iPads, that would be a fantastic alternative,” said Lee.

Experts say try getting your kids rolling backpacks, and when shopping for a regular backpack, make sure it’s the right size for your child.

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