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Kids' backpacks ...
Kids with their backpacks
School may be winding down, but kids are bringing home all the junk they’ve collected over this year. Plus, there’s summer camp on the horizon. We are often shocked by how heavy these backpacks are that kids tote today. Often, their backpacks weigh a ton. This is not good for muscles and joints, according to medical news from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. If your child wears a backpack too heavy or if the backpack is worn improperly, the result may be back, neck and shoulder pain, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

A backpack should weigh no more than 20 percent of a child’s body weight, says the AAP. Here’s how to check for signs of backpack overload:

1. Notice if your child is struggling to get the backpack on or take it off.
2. See if your child exhibits a posture change when wearing the backpack.
3. Look for red marks on your child’s  shoulders.
4. Pay attention to any tingling or numbness in arms or legs that your child feels.

To avoid problems, try to:

1. Purchase a backpack with two wide, adjustable and padded straps. Dense materials and padding can be protective. 
2. Place heavy items near the backpack’s center.
3. Teach your child how to bend at the knees, place on one strap, then use his or her legs to lift up the backpack.
4. Buy a backpack with wheels and a handle if your child will go along.
5. Limit the amount of time your child totes a backpack.
Sweet Life notes

(Source: “Backpacks: A heavy load for many kids,” UNC Health Scene, April/May 2008, p. 2)