Two states, California and New Jersey, are looking to pass laws intended to protect school children from carrying backpacks that are too heavy.
California Assemblyman Rod Pacheco has introduced a bill that would require textbook printers to decrease the weight of their books. In New Jersey, Assemblyman Peter Barnes had made a proposal that would direct the state Board of Education to set and enforce weight standards for elementary and secondary textbooks.
Pacheco’s plan is supported by The California Medical Association which said childhood is a key time for spinal growth, which could be altered by heavy backpacks.
More than 40 million students carry school backpacks, and according to the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) many of them are too heavy, incorrectly worn, or poorly designed which may cause children pain, soreness, stiffness, and possible long-term damage to the skeletal system.
The AOTA and other groups including the American Academy of Pediatrics and chiropractic associations recommend that a child carry no more than 10 percent to 20 percent of their own body weight.