Backpacks cause serious back problems - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Backpacks cause serious back problems

Students' backpacks are tipping the scales on the heavy side.

Dr. John Noble with Center for Orthopedics says the weight of a backpack should not be more than 10 percent of the child's body weight.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports more than 7,300 injuries were treated in U.S. emergency rooms in 2006 because of backpacks -- especially in areas of the spine.

Dr. Noble says strained muscles because of heavy backpacks combined with a child that is active in sports can make for a dangerous injury.

To lighten the load and prevent injuries, rolling backpacks are a great option -- but check your student's school handbook to find out of they are legal.

If you will be sticking to a traditional backpack, distribute the weight more evenly by using both shoulder straps.

And ... How you pack your bag can make a big difference. Pack the heavier books closest to your back and even carry one or two heavy books in your arms. Dr. Noble says if a child continues to complain of back pain, talk to a doctor.

"if the child has persistent back pain, probably for over four weeks, has night pain or has significant pain with activity, i think the child should be evaluated."

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