Backpack Safety

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

As practical as backpacks are, they can strain muscles and joints and may cause back pain if theyre too heavy or are used incorrectly. Dr. Edward Hill discusses backpack safety in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

If your child complains of a stiff neck, sore shoulders and an aching back, an overloaded backpack may be to blame. Backpacks typically strain back and shoulder muscles when the load is more than 10 to 15 percent of the childs body weight.

To prevent injuries, have your child follow these tips:

Load the heaviest items close to the center of the pack.

Use a backpack with wide, padded straps.

Carry the pack on both shoulders and tighten the straps so that the pack is about two inches above the waist.

Use the waist belt to stabilize heavier loads.

Bend both knees and use both hands to lift a heavy pack instead of leaning over.

If your child has numb, tingling arms caused by poor circulation, or complains of back pain, it may indicate that his backpack is too heavy. Ask your child to tell you about any pain or discomfort in the back, neck or shoulders.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.