Back packs and book bags that are filled beyond capacity are a major concern for young children due to the fact that if they are too heavy, they can cause shoulder and back problems. In today’s society, families have such busy schedules that the contents of the book bag could very well depend on what is going on that day in school as well as after school, be it a sports team practice, dance rehearsal, you name it.
Carrying that heavy load is not good, especially when it is over the shoulder (like I have a tendency to do), wearing it on one side doesn’t allow you to distribute your weight evenly. Besides shoulder and back pain, carrying an overloaded bag can be a safety issue by causing one to lose their balance resulting in a fall. In 2013 the US Consumer Product Safety Commission found that in that year alone, there were 5, 415 injuries treated at emergency rooms for back pack injuries.
How to lighten the load
- Try to pack only the items that are needed for that day, such as textbooks. My nephew in elementary school used to keep a textbook at home as well as at school, which reduced the weight he had to lug around all day.
- Make sure the back pack that the child is using is a good fit for them. The shoulder straps should be sturdy with ample padding, and is big enough to hold what is needed.
- Backpacks are the best option for younger children. It helps them to distribute the weight of the bag as opposed to a shoulder bag which would cause an imbalance.
- The American Academy of Orthopaedic states that the rule of thumb when carrying a backpack – for a child it should not weigh no more than 10 to 20 percent of his or her body weight.
It may seem like it’s not a big deal now, but the constant overload can eventually over time turn into a real problem. So let’s keep that in mind and watch those loads.