Thursday, September 21, 2006

Backpacks + Books = Ouch

Tips for avoiding injury to kids due to heavy backpacks ...

"More than 40 million children in the United States carry school backpacks, and more than half of them may be carrying too much weight. Children carrying overloaded backpacks and improperly worn packs are likely to experience neck, shoulder and back pain; adverse effects on posture and the developing spine; and compromised breathing and fatigue, according to the U.S. and international studies.

The U.S. Consumer Product and Safety Commission estimates that more than 7,000 emergency room visits in 2001 resulted from injuries related to backpacks and book bags — half of those occurred among children between the ages of five and 14. The growing awareness of potential long-term problems to children has resulted in increased medical research and proposed legislation in at least two states to address the issue of backpack weight in relation to student health.

Strategies for loading and wearing backpacks:

Backpacks should weigh no more than 15 percent of body weight (15-pound pack on a 100 pound child);

Load heaviest items closest to the child’s back;

Wear both shoulder straps for an evenly balanced load"   (Continued via The Star Online)    [Ergonomics Resources]

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