18:06 PM

Watch Their Backs -- Don't Overload Those Schoolbags

HealthDay explains how to fit a backpack properly to prevent injury as kids head back-to-school, and includes guidance from HSS pediatric orthopedic surgeons Emily R. Dodwell, MD, MPH, FRCSC, and John S. Blanco, MD.

Dr. Dodwell said, “With a focus on getting back in the classroom and returning to 'normal,' it's easy to overlook possible injuries caused by everyday school supplies.”

She continued, “Backpacks might not seem that high on the list of safety hazards for children, but if too heavy or worn improperly, they can cause pain or injury to muscles and joints.”

Backpacks should never weigh more than 10% to 20% of a kids' body weight, the American Academy of Pediatrics advises. Dr. Blanco explained, “It's not uncommon for students to lug around 30 pounds, which is usually too heavy based on their body weight. Most families have a scale at home and can use it to weigh the backpack and take out items that are not needed for the school day.”

Drs. Dodwell and Blanco offered additional tips for selecting a backpack and keeping kids injury-free, including: choosing a backpack with wide padded shoulder straps and a padded back or waist strap, and teaching young people to pick up a backpack properly by bending at the knees.

Read the full article at Healthday.com.

Additional coverage: USnews.com.