Overloaded BackpacksAug 25, 2014 09:00AM ● By John P. Sheehan, M.D.
The AAOS recommends that the maximum weight of the child’s backpack should not exceed 15-20% of the child’s weight. A child who weighs 80 pounds should not carry more than 12-16 pounds in her backpack. This figure may vary depending on the child’s strength and fitness level.
Tips to Prevent Back Pains and Injuries:
- Using a backpack with wide, padded straps and a padded back
- Using a hip strap when backpacks are overloaded
- Firmly tightening both straps in order to hold the backpack two inches above the waist
- Placing heavier items close to your back
- Using proper lifting techniques: bend at the knees and use the legs to lift the backpack, placing one shoulder strap on at a time
- Making frequent stops at your locker to unload books
- Using a backpack with wheels
John P. Sheehan, M.D., Pediatric Orthopaedist, Boys Town National Research Hospital