Today's Healthy Child: Excess backpack weight

    10:56 PM, Aug 8, 2011   |    comments
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    UNDATED (KTHV) -- Kids will soon be getting back into their regular routines of getting up early for school and coming home each night with homework.

    But-- it's important to remember that your child might overload his or her backpack with textbooks.

    Today's THV and "Arkansas Children's Hospital" want to warn you about what that can do to your child's body.

    Here's Dr. Bryan Burke.

    "They tend to like to carry everything they own in a backpack. and it can be too heavy."

    Beth Mckitrick-Bandy, director of physical therapy at Arkansas Children's Hospital worries about the stress an over packed backpack puts on children's bodies.

    "The guideline is the child shouldn't carry anymore than 15-percent of their body weight or if you have a 50lb child that's like seven and a half pounds."

    Chances are if you simply weighed the books in your child's backpacks they would exceed that weight.

    "And then if you add their lunches or if they have things that they want to do after school, so if you add that weight that's the problem."

    Besides the weight of the contents of the backpack -- it's important to make sure your child is wearing the backpack correctly.

    "If they're going to go for the traditional backpack they want to make sure that it's padded. that they have straps that can be adjusted, so they can adjust theirs and that they wear it correctly up on their shoulders opposed to hanging low and they also have a strap that comes around on their hips to help take some of that weight off their shoulders."

    And you don't want to let them sling it over one shoulder. That can not only lead to back problems, but shoulder problems as well.

    "There are a lot of things that your child will need from school but they all don't need to be in the backpack. If the backpack seems too heavy take something out and keep the backpack appropriate for your childs weight.

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