SATURDAY, Aug. 7 (HealthDay News) -- As the new school year
approaches, parents and children planning their "back-to-school"
lists are urged to keep backpack safety in mind.
Each year, about 6,000 children in the United States experience
backpack-related injuries, Linda Rhodes, an occupational therapist
at MCGHealth Children's Medical Center in Augusta, Ga., explained
in a news release from the medical center.
In an effort to cut down on the number of these injuries, Rhodes
offers parents the following backpack safety advice:
- Choose a lightweight backpack that doesn't add too much to your
child's load. The pack should have two wide, padded shoulder straps
and a padded back that will improve comfort and protect your child
from being poked by the sharp points and edges of pencils, pens,
rulers and other objects they need to carry.
- Select the proper size backpack for your child. It should cover
no more than three-quarters of the length of your child's
- Load backpacks carefully. The maximum weight of a loaded pack
should not be more than 15 percent of a child's body weight. Place
the heaviest books closest to the back as they require the most
body support. If a child has to lean forward to carry a pack, it's
- Have your child wear the pack correctly. He or she should use
both shoulder straps. Carrying a backpack on one shoulder puts too
much strain on one side of the upper body. The straps should be
snug, but not too tight. If a backpack has a waist strap, use it to
help better support the load.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons has more about