Is that backpack too heavy? It might be hurting your child now . . . and in the future. Check out this video.
When used right, backpacks are a good way to carry books and school supplies because they’re designed to distribute the weight of the load among some of the body's strongest muscles. But backpacks that are too heavy or are worn incorrectly can cause problems for kids and teens, says the American Academy of Pediatrics.
A backpack that’s too heavy or worn wrong can injure muscles and joints – and cause back, neck and shoulder pain. Children who have not gone into puberty are at greater risk, because they lack the muscle mass to carry heavy loads, AAP says.
A heavy backpack can compress the spine (ouch) and contribute to posture problems over time as the child grows.
A study in Spain showed that the longer a child wears a backpack, the longer it takes for a curvature or deformity of the spine to correct itself, reports the American Chiropractic Association.
That backpack should be no heavier than 10% of the child’s body weight. It should be no wider than their torso, and hang no lower than 4 inches below their waist. Kids should wear their backpacks using both straps, snug against their back instead of hanging loose.