Backpack Safety

Mark Bonica photograph @

Backs in School

School’s back in swing, students are filling up their spanking new gear and putting it all on their backs.  Children and teens can suffer back pain too and heavy backpacks can cause trouble.  An overloaded backpack can have long term consequences for a young spine including: neck and shoulder strain leading to headache, poor posture, scoliosis, back pain, and muscle spasms.  As students move up in grades and homework increases they’ll likely be lugging more.

Don’t Overload Backpacks

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that a child not carry more than 10 to 20 percent of their body weight.  Studies have found that 60 percent of students age 12 to 17 carry backpacks that weigh 10 percent or more of their body weight.  20 percent of surveyed students 12 to 17 carried bags weighing 15 percent or more of their body weight.  With this in mind, consider checking the weight of your child’s backpack and here are some suggestions.

To Prevent Injury

  • Pack lighter & stop at school lockers – don’t carry all books for the whole day
  • Always use both shoulder straps – evenly distribute weight to protect the spine
  • Tighten straps to keep packs two inches above the waist
  • Bend knees to get closer to the floor, avoid bending at the waist
  • Perform back-strengthening exercises

Encourage your child or teenager to tell you if they are feeling pain.   School and studying can place many demands on students.  Pick up your son or daughter’s backpack to see how much it weighs.  Contact Matthews Chiropractic Center if a growing back needs some relief.


Comments are closed.