Books Weighting Our Kids Down?

September 2, 2010
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Go to any elementary or middle school and you are sure to see tons of kids weighed down by their backpacks.  Did you know the average school textbook weighs between 3 and 4 pounds?  Kids are carrying on the average of 8-12 pounds in books every school day!  You may not have a say when if come to books having to come home for homework, but her are some way to minimize your child's back strain. Your kids may not have much of a choice when it comes to which books to carry home every night, but we found some smart tips to prevent or minimize back strain. Experts recommend that children carry no more than 10 to 15 percent of their body weight.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children who regularly carry an overloaded backpack are susceptible to back pain, poor posture, muscle strain and headaches. 

Here are some great steps to relieve some of the side affects:

  • Weigh the pack - Use abathroom scale to see that your child’s pack doesn’t weigh more than 10 to 15 percent of their body weight.
  • Avoid Messenger Bags and Sling Bags - These one-strap bags do not distribute weight evenly, which places too much stress on one shoulder or one area of the back. Backpacks with two straps are a better choice.
  • Use both straps. This one may be difficultt as kids want to be cool, but encourage your child to wear their backpack on both shoulders as often as possible.
  • Hip or chest straps. Straps around the waist or chest take some weight off the back and shoulders and help stabilize the backpack.
  • Adjust the straps . A backpack shouldn’t lean away from your child’s body, and there shouldn’t be a large gap between the bag and your child’s back. This puts more strain on the neck and shoulders.

Are rolling backpacks a good alternative? Not always. Some schools ban or discourage wheeled backpacks because students can trip over them in crowded hallways, so check with your school before you make a purchase.

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