Back to School: Backpacks 101
More than 79 million U.S. students carry backpacks to school. Many students report back pain and suffer injuries from backpacks. More than 2,000 backpack-related injuries were reported in 2007. U of L associate professor of pediatrics Scott Tomchek, Ph.D. says those injuries are mostly preventable.
In one study, 64 percent of students (11-15 years old) reported pain from heavy backpacks. For 21 percent, the pain lasted more than six months.
Signs of backpack strain:
Aching back and shoulders
Advice for parents:
Choose the right backpack.
Choose a pack that is the right size for your child and has enough room.
Buy a pack with well-padded straps.
Consider a book bag on wheels if the backpack is regularly too heavy.
Load it properly.
A child's backpack should weigh no more that 10 percent of his or her body weight.
Load heaviest items closest to the child's back.
Arrange contents so items don't slide around.
If the backpack is too heavy, have the child carry a book or item outside the pack.
Wear it correctly.
Use both straps and wear the waist belt to help distribute the weight evenly.
Adjust the straps so the pack fits snugly on the child's back.
The height of the backpack should extend from approximately 2 inches below the shoulder blades to waist level or slightly above the waist.
Scott Tomchek, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Pediatrics
For information, click here.
Weisskopf Child Evaluation Center
The Weisskopf Child Evaluation Center (WCEC) in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Louisville is a unique tertiary center that provides center-based and outreach diagnostic evaluations and treatment to infants and children with, or at risk for, developmental disabilities, congenital anomalies, genetic disorders, autism, organic behavior disorders (ADHD) and learning disabilities, as well as genetic counseling to adults.
State-of-the-art treatment programs serve children and adolescents with developmental disabilities and/or feeding disorders. Comprehensive care of children with inborn errors of metabolism is provided through medical and dietary management and enzyme infusion.
WCEC staff actively participates in the training of professionals involved in the care of these individuals and is involved in clinical research in both developmental/behavioral pediatrics and genetics. It maintains national, state and local prominence through its many unique programs.