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School Backpacks and Back Pain

Fast facts on adolescent’s issues related to backpacks

  1. 40 million teenagers carry backpacks to school each day.
  2. According to Consumer Product Safety Commission (Nov. 1998) approximately 3300 children ages 5-14 were treated in the E.R for injuries related to backpacks.
  3. National Public Radio (Oct. 1998) estimates that up to 65% of adolescent visits to the Dr. are for backpack related injuries.
  4. A study by Simmons College (Feb. 2001) found 55% of students carry more than recommended weight guidelines in their backpacks.

Tips on Wearing your Backpack Safely and Properly (according to Children’s Medical Center)

  1. Always use both shoulder straps.
  2. Tighten straps so that the pack is close to the body.
  3. The backpack should never weigh more than 10-20% of the students body weight.
  4. Pack heavier items closest to the center of the back.
  5. Bend using both knees to pick up the backpack.

Learn back strengthening exercises (ask your pediatrician or therapist).