Backpacks Hurt Backs

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Heavy backpacks are becoming more than just a burden, in some cases, they can cause major problems for our children.

The issue of safe backpacks is not a new problem but it can be serious.

A 2004 study shows about 7,600 hospital treated injuries in the U.S. were caused by backpacks.

The American Academy of Pediatrics says a loaded backpack should weigh no more than 10 to 20 percent of a child's total weight.

So, for a 120 pound child, that's no more than 24 pounds.

Kids ages nine to 16 are the most susceptible to heavy backpacks, but could too much homework be to blame?

"We have five binders a day. I spend about two hours on homework," said Joseph Case, a Bowling Green Junior High 8th Grader

Joseph said he isn't getting too much homework.

"I finish it most of the time in class," he added.

Joseph's mom Christie agrees and said he has plenty of free time and he always has finished his homework.

"It's not a problem," she assured.

"I believe in family time and I know they have a lot of extracurricular activities," admitted Jo Carol Ford, a Bowling Green Junior High 6th Grade Teacher

Ford said she doesn't overload her students with homework and gives them plenty of time to finish it.

"I know I'm not the only class, so I try to be fair," she added.

Ford thinks the reason students' backpacks are so heavy is because they try to pack everything in them.

"Some of them practically clean out their locker when they go home," Ford said.

We weighed Joseph's backpack to see exactly how heavy it is.

It weighed 19 pounds.

"It hurts my lower back," he admitted.

"Different backpacks and their design can be easier to carry the book load," Christie said.

Joseph and his mom try to buy backpacks that won't hurt his back.

"This is the kind of book bag my mom wanted me to get because it has one of these [straps]. Sometimes when I have homework it weighs down and that keeps it even," Joseph said.

Christie said as long as Joseph continues to carry the right backpack, the amount of homework he has won't be a problem.

Bowling Green Junior High teachers added that there is no reason for students to take home all of their books everyday because now they can access their textbooks online.

Click here for more information on backpack safety.

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