Backpack safety before going back to school - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Backpack safety before going back to school

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Backpacks can be a health concern and with school right around the corner, a local surgeon is reminding parents about backpack safety.

We spoke with multiple elementary schools in the Iowa City area and found that each school was different in terms of locker use.

While some schools allowed students five minutes in the morning to drop off their backpack in their locker, others had lockers inside the classrooms.

One thing each school seemed to have in common was that most backpack wearing wasn't being done during the actual school day.

Students are often carrying backpacks outside of the classroom and school building, such as walking home from school.

Henry Schoon just got out of elementary school last year.

"It always felt okay sometimes I would have to put like a bagillion things in there," he told us.

Dr. Weinstein, a pediatric orthopaedic surgeon at UIHC & professor of orthopaedics and rehabilitation says the proper backpack is something parents should be aware of.

"We see more children today with back ache than I've seen in my 40 years of practice it just keeps escalating," he says.

Dr. Weinstein is offering up some safety advice.

"One that has good padding so that it's comfortable," he tells us.

He also says to make sure the backpack is packed evenly and not too heavy on one side.

Dr. Weinstein says it's important to make sure the backpack fits the child.

"Probably carrying you know 10-20 percent of body weight is probably a rough estimate," he told us.

It's also important to make sure the backpack doesn't hang down past your back.

In addition to shoulder straps, a front strap is also suggested.

"I learned that I should really have a strap in front," Schoon told us after hearing from Dr. Weinstein.

Dr. Weinstein says it's hard to relate back aches directly to backpacks but he says many studies show they can be harmful to children.

We are told parents don't have to spend a lot of money to get the proper backpack for their child.

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