NEW Fox News articles can now be heard on audio! Lighten the load, experts advise when it comes to your child’s backpack for school this year!
Health experts told Fox News Digital that since hefty backpacks have more of an impact than many people may realize, parents need to make sure they are not sending their children back to school with heavy, overweight book bags for this new school year.
What kind of price?
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, from 2017 to 2019, an estimated 7,500 children under the age of 19 were treated in emergency departments for injuries caused by backpacks.
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A 12-year-old girl’s mother told Fox News Digital that her daughter has been complaining of upper back and neck pain for months.
The mother from Long Island, New York, at first assumed her daughter’s pains and aches were brought on by her sports activities.
But after visiting their doctor, the mother discovered that her daughter’s bag was to blame.
“Throughout the day, she carried a backpack filled with books as she moved from classroom to classroom and then to and from school. Such heavy lifting! “Fox News Digital was told by the mother.
She carried the bag to and from school while dragging a backpack full of books from classroom to classroom throughout the day.
For the treatment of her neck and upper back injuries, her daughter had to go through several weeks of sessions that included osteopathic manipulation of her spine.
She also needed to begin an exercise program to build up her upper back so that it could support the weight of the backpack.
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Parents and guardians should watch out for the following warning indications that a child’s backpack is excessively hefty, according to health experts.
Child looks to be having difficulty putting on or removing backpack.
When a child is carrying a backpack, their posture shifts (they lean forward or to the side).
A child’s arms and legs feel tingly or numb.
The child’s shoulders have red stains from the backpack straps.
A child who is wearing a backpack laments the pain.
In his Rocky Point, New York, clinic, osteopathic doctor Dr. David Gentile treats patients who have spinal health problems.
Heavy backpacks can alter a child’s spine’s natural bend, making it more difficult for them to maintain good posture.
The doctor spoke to Fox News Digital about the effects hefty backpacks have on students’ posture and claimed they can alter the spine’s natural curve, making it harder for kids to maintain good posture.
“We constantly observe the older age using sit-stand desks and nice seats at work,” he remarked.
So “It’s obvious that our awareness of good job ergonomics has increased. To enhance kids’ health outcomes, it may be time to genuinely teach them about these practical and comfortable adjustments “Gentile stated.
The doctor added that proactive public health measures should be taken to stop severe discomfort in children.
The terrible reality of back discomfort in young children can be alleviated in a number of ways, according to Gentile, beginning with the early identification of risk factors.
Physical therapists in physical education classes, as well as instruction on proper ergonomics for teachers, administrators, kids, and their families, might all be advantageous, he continued.
“It might not be so much about choosing the right backpack as it is about optimal fit and load,”
A backpack may appear to be an innocent back-to-school purchase, but Edward Farrell, co-founder and partner of Physical Solutions Physical Therapy in Bethpage, New York, told Fox News Digital that it can be a culprit when it comes to causing problems with a child’s spine.
In terms of choosing a backpack, he suggested that good fit and load should come first.
“Our pupils frequently plan their route around the hallways, making as few stops as possible at their lockers, if they stop at their lockers at all,” says the teacher.
Especially if it makes up a significant portion of the student’s heft, a backpack overstuffed with books, according to Farrell, a trained strength and conditioning specialist, might cause problems.
Imagine having a youngster who weighs 100 pounds carry a 30-pound bag all day, Farrell added.
Students who are carrying a lot of books risk rounded shoulders, increased thoracic kyphosis, and a prolonged cervical spine in addition to leaning forward.
He added that the issue is exacerbated when students drape their backpacks over one shoulder, which can result in an unbalanced load on the spine, muscle tension, shoulder injuries, and in severe situations, a functional scoliosis.
The hefty load of many books can cause pupils to lean forward, have rounded shoulders, increased thoracic kyphosis, and a protracted cervical spine, even with correct use—meaning youngsters are carrying the pack over both shoulders as the design intended.
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Students should choose a backpack with wide shoulder straps, carry a lighter pack, and utilize both shoulder straps to distribute the burden across the shoulders and neck, according to Farrell.
More essential, keep your chest up and stand tall, he continued.
Bill Schwarz, a physical therapist at The Schwarz Institute in Massapequa, New York, treats both high school kids and Division 1 players from Long Island University in Brookville.
Schwarz told Fox News Digital that it’s crucial for pupils to maintain a healthy weight by frequently visiting their locker.
Kids should bend at the knees when picking up their bag from the ground to prevent putting more strain on their lower backs.
He concurred with Farrell in noting that employing just one strap puts too much stress on one side of the body.
Schwarz further added, “Straps should be snug. If the bag is excessively loose, it hangs lower and puts more strain on the mid and low spine.”
Children should bend at the knees when picking up their backpacks from the ground to prevent more stress on their lower backs, according to Schwarz.