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How To: Keep Backpacks from Causing Injury

Health Risks of a Heavy Backpack

How exactly does a heavy backpack affect your child? Stacy Border, PT, DPT, St. Claire HealthCare pediatric physical therapist, says, “When a child attempts to carry a load that is too heavy for him/her, the child will adapt their posture by arching their back or leaning forward. This can cause spinal compression and poor spinal alignment as well as issues in the vertebrae disks, which can impact shock absorption in the spine. Carrying a heavy load also requires muscles and soft tissues to work harder, which can result in greater muscle strain and fatigue. Girls and younger children may be especially at risk for backpack-related injuries because they are smaller, their bones and joints are still growing, and they may carry loads that are heavier in proportion to their body weight. ”

If your child has back pain or numbness or weakness in the arms or legs, talk to your child’s healthcare provider to ensure no back injuries are present.