Oh Baby: Back pack safety - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Oh Baby: Back pack safety

WATERLOO (KWWL) -- Kids are back to school now, and that means they are stuffing their backpacks with books and supplies.

But doctors say those weighted-down bags could cause lasting health problems for children. Here are a few tips for parents and students.

The Raiszadeh sisters will be headed back to school soon.

But their father will be keeping a close eye on how they're carrying their school supplies.

"This is a backpack that's actually perfectly worn," he says.

Dr. Ramin Raiszadeh is an orthopedic spine surgeon. He says kids should only be carrying 10 to 15 percent of their body weight in their backpacks.

The consequences can be painful.

"The backpack can not only just cause the back pain, it can cause shoulder pain. It can cause mid-back pain," he said.

Other concerns, muscle spasms, sway back, leg pain, and in the most serious cases disk degeneration.

Backpacks can also exacerbate underlying problems that need to be treated.

"Whenever you have prolonged, protracted back pain, it's something more significant than just backpack use."

Dr. Raiszadeh says usually pain can be treated by reducing the weight and wearing backpacks correctly.

Straps should be worn on both shoulders to spread the weight evenly. They should be padded, two inches wide, and fit snugly.

"It should be exactly worn as such, but it's way low," he said.

This is an example of what not to do. The backpack shouldn't hang down past the child's lower back. The doctor says the best option is to pull your stuff in a backpack with wheels.

The doctor says one of the most common questions he gets from parents is, "Can a backpack cause scoliosis, or a curvature of the spine?"

Doctor raiszadeh says there are no studies that show that's a problem.

Online Anchor: Sunny Layne

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