Backpack Safety: Too Much Weight Can Hurt - WTRF 7 News Sports Weather - Wheeling Steubenville

Backpack Safety: Too Much Weight Can Hurt

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It's that time of year again.

Students are getting ready to head back to school with their new supplies and backpacks.

But studies show that too much weight in a backpack can actually change a child's spine and even lead to injuries.

Wheeling Hospital Physical Therapist Manager, Curt Neel, said there's some simple, preventive steps students can take though.

"No single straps. Even if they look cool, that's not the best way to go. Two shoulder straps is common. That's the best way to do it. One strap puts too much pressure on one side. The two straps spread the load over both shoulders instead of one," Neel said.

If a backpack is too heavy, students can suffer neck pain, back pain, and even numbness or tingling in their arms. 

Officials said the weight of a backpack isn't the only key to preventing injuries, how a child wears it is also important.

"You want to make sure you wear the backpack snugly so it's not hanging loose. If it hangs loose, it will hang down below the waist and tend to pull the student backwards and then, that creates some back pain," Neel said.

The American Academy of Pediatrics suggested adjusting the backpack so that the bottom sits at the waist.

There's also the "10 to 15 percent" rule, which means a child's backpack should not weigh more than 10 to 15 percent of their body weight.

In the end though, officials believe students have to use common sense. They can adjust the straps to relieve weight, avoid filling their backpacks too much, and cleaning out their backpacks regularly. 

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