July 28, 2009

Expert: Don’t scrimp on school backpack

Orthopedic experts at a U.S. hospital advise parents to make sure their child's backpack is a quality one.

Eric Wall of the Orthopaedic Surgery Division of Ohio's Cincinnati Children's Hospital says a rolling backpack is a good option for children carrying heavy loads, but asks parents to remember school terrain is often more challenging to negotiate with wheels than the average airport.

When used correctly, backpacks are the most efficient way to carry a load and distribute the weight among some of the body's strongest muscles, Wall says in a statement.

However, he says, a child's backpack should be limited to no more that 15 percent to 20 percent of a child's weight.

Wall and other orthopedic experts at Cincinnati Children's also advise parents who want to prevent injuries to:

-- Look for a backpack that is lightweight, has two wide and padded shoulder straps, a cushioned back and waist straps.

-- Encourage children to use both shoulder straps and make sure the straps are tight.