From The Ergoweb® Learning Center

Back to Back Pain for Students?

Backpacks remain one of today’s hottest items among students and come in a variety of sizes, colors – even the jersey of your kid’s favorite NBA team. But has backpack fashion left function behind?

When used properly and designed with ergonomic considerations, backpacks can be a safe, useful tool for kids. But misuse and poor design can literally be a pain.

A recent report by the California Chiropractic Association (CCA), revealed as many as 55 percent of today’s students are carrying loads that exceed the recommended 15% of body weight, with some students’ packs weighing in at over 40 pounds. And according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, there has been nearly a 300 percent increase in backpack-related injuries among school children in America since 1996.

“As the mother of an elementary school aged child, I know the pressure that comes from kids who want a certain cartoon character or color,” said Dr. Kassie Donoghue, president of CCA. “Before going out to buy a backpack, it’s helpful to talk to your kids about the type of backpack you want to buy. By following a few simple guidelines, you can help your child choose a backpack they like and avoid serious back problems.”

Look for Good Design & Follow These Safe Use Tips

When choosing a backpack, look for:
Padded shoulder straps
Padded back
Lumbar support
Waist belt
Multiple compartments
Correct size

How to pack:
Loaded backpacks should weigh no more then 15% of the child’s body weight
Distribute the weight properly; load heavier items closest to the back

How to wear:
Take the backpack off when standing for a long time
Wear both shoulder straps
Tighten straps until snug, but not tight

Use the stabilizing waist strap

Sources: Consumer Product Safety Commission; Ergonomics Today