Family First: Backpacks

POSTED: Monday, August 16, 2010 --- 2:45 a.m.

As your child prepares to head back to school this fall, there is one essential item that you should pay close attention to.

As kids pack more and more into their backpacks, backpack weight is becoming more of a problem.

Heavy backpacks can cause back and neck pain, nerve compression, weakness and sensory loss in children.

These problems are preventable if you get the right backpack for your child.

"Preferably one with wide shoulder straps to distribute the weight better, wide padded shoulder straps, worn on both shoulders and preferably with a padded back in case there's anything pokey or sharp objects in the backpack and then if possible one that also has a waistband in case of a very heavy weight then you can also help to redistribute that weight by using the waistband appropriately. And backpacks shouldn't ever weigh more than 10 to 20 percent of the students' body weight, " says Dean Clinic Pediatrician Dr. Kari Hegeman.

Dr. Hegeman says if you find that your child has to carry more than what they should--you might want to consider a rolling backpack.

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