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Although the school year over for most people, the pain is just beginning. For many kids and teens in America, the fact of heavy backpacks is an everyday event. It is never a good deal of fun to carry around large amounts of books, but as someone who has worked both at a library and who was somewhat recently a student, I can tell you that I prefer lugging around boxes of dictionaries than I did carrying around my textbooks in a bag.

We are noticing more and more that students are complaining of back pain. When asked if they have a book bag, the answer is almost always yes. Sometimes when asked to bring them in, the students do and we find that they are difficult for us to lift, let alone walk around with. While students don’t normally have these bags on their backs all day, the amount of time for the weight they are causes enough damage. This is especially true when you factor in that so many of these kids are jostled around in the hallways due to overcrowded schools and buses. There are a couple of ways that you can help your student with their bags.

First, make sure they have a bag with two straps. Having a large amount of weight on one shoulder will only increase the amount of pain the student is in. Recommendations say that a book bag should be no heavier than ten percent of your student’s body weight. While we know that this isn’t always an option due to school restrictions, you should at least attempt to remind your child to reduce the weight if possible. Also, make sure that the straps are correctly positioned. Any bag lower than four inches under the waist will tend to pull back on the shoulders which often causes students to lean forward and can strain the muscles in their back and chest. This is especially a problem in students who are still growing. Also, make sure the straps are padded so they do not cut into the child’s skin.

Backpacks are a necessity in most schools, but they can cause quite a bit of harm. Try and talk to your student and their teachers to see if you can work out a system that doesn’t harm the child’s body.

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