Heavy school backpacks may lead to injury

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Have you tried to lift your child's backpack?  You may be surprised how heavy it is. As the school year is starting, doctors are warning about the dangers of a heavy load.

"Many students carry too much weight on their backs, opting to skip their lockers between classes and stuff all their books in their backpack," orthopedic surgeon with Norton Children's Orthopedics of Louisville Dr. Joshua Meier said. "This not only can lead to pain and discomfort but also injury."

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends students carry no more than 15 to 20 percent of their body weight in their backpack.

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Backpack weight guide:

Child’s weight

Backpack weight should not exceed

75 pounds

15 pounds

90 pounds

18 pounds

115 pounds

23 pounds

125 pounds

25 pounds

150 pounds

30 pounds

Norton Children's Orthopedics of Louisville specializes in both orthopedic surgical procedures and nonsurgical orthopedic care. They offer the following tips to keep your child from getting hurt.

  • Double up: Slinging a backpack over just one shoulder can cause tremendous neck and shoulder aches and pains. Encourage your child to double up and put a strap over each shoulder. Doing so evenly distributes the weight of the backpack and promotes better posture and fewer back injuries.
  • Create a snug fit: Students also like to wear their backpacks low. This creates pull on the back. Often, the child will try to overcompensate by arching the back or leaning forward. Tighten up the straps so the backpack fits snug against your child’s body and rests in the middle of the back.
  • Look for thick straps: Backpack straps should be wide and padded with foam to provide cushion and added support for the shoulders. Tight, narrow straps can dig into the shoulders. They can pinch nerves or interfere with circulation, especially when the

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