The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that students sustain over 7,500 backpack-related injuries every year. Student backpack injuries pose a variety of risks for children.
Dangers of Backpacks
Backpacks pose a serious risk of back injury for kids. They may also cause children to sustain bruises and sprains. In other cases, children may sustain shoulder or back fractures.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is aware of the risk of using a backpack. It has set very detailed guidelines regarding the weight that children’s backpacks should not exceed in order to reduce the number of injuries that occur. For example, a backpack should not be more than 10 to 20 percent of the child’s weight.
Tips to Reduce Injuries
Parents can also take steps to reduce the risk of backpack-related injuries. They can instruct their child to only carry a limited selection of items. These items should be only those that are necessary.
Kids should also be told to wear both the straps of the backpack to balance the weight on the child’s body. Fit is another important aspect of preventing backpack-related injuries. The backpack should fit evenly on the middle of the child’s back.
However, the straps can be adjusted to provide a better fit and give the children an easier time of removing their backpacks without difficulty.
Another helpful tip is to select a backpack that is ergonomically designed. Ergonomic features may include a padded back that provides a more comfortable choice that imposes a lower amount of pressure on the child’s shoulder, back and underarms.
Another ergonomic feature is a belt that kids wear around the hip or chest because this allows the child to shift some of the weight to other parts of his or her body. Selecting a backpack that has multiple compartments provides convenient storage and another opportunity to distribute the weight evenly.