Kids seem overloaded these days with school, extra-curriculars, music, sports, friends, video games, iPods, computers, and other activities. Their backpacks tend to carry the burden of these busy lives. Every year, thousands of children and teenagers suffer serious and long-term back injuries because they are weighed down by heavy and overloaded backpacks. To prevent long-term injury, you should be aware of how to protect your child or teen from backpack-related injuries.
School season is beginning and it can be difficult to keep safety in mind when you are trying to meet the demands of your child’s changing schedule. It is important to plan ahead to prevent serious injury. Our Charlotte child injury attorneys are dedicated to helping keep children safe this back to school season. In addition to traffic and bus safety, we also believe in backpack safety to prevent serious injury to children.
Well-designed backpacks are intended to distribute heavy weight loads between the strongest body parts, including the shoulders and upper back. When a backpack is used improperly or overloaded, that weight distribution can fall heavily on other muscles, causing the risk of serious injury and harm. An improperly packed or worn bag can lead to severe back, neck and shoulder pain as well as muscle injuries. Overtime a child could develop posture problems that could impact their growth and development and cause additional issues later in life.
To best prevent backpack injuries, you should be sure that the pack is well-designed to meet the size and weight demands for your child. The shoulder straps should be wide and padded. Cheap, plastic, and narrow straps can dig into shoulders, restricting movement and causing pain or circulation problems. A well-designed backpack should also be padded in the back and have a waist strap. The padded back will prevent any injury from sharp objects, increase comfort and the waist strap will ensure that weight is distributed evenly. Other considerations: the backpack itself should not be too heavy or be too much weight. You could also invest in a rolling backpack, however, this could present difficulties when carrying the bag upstairs.
When preparing to send your child out the door in the morning with a full-load, make sure that your child is using both straps. While the “cool thing to do” is often to throw one shoulder strap off, this can create significant strains on one side of the body and cause curvature of the spine. The pack should be close to the body and the pack should rest approximately 2 inches above the waist.
Remember that your child doesn’t have to bring every item, every day. Consider what items can be left at home. You could alternate book days or buy an extra set to have at home. The backpack should also be well-organized so that weight is evenly distributed. In any case, the bag should never weigh more than 10-20 pounds. Children should bend at the knees when lifting, not in their back. Any sign of injury should be reported to a pediatrician.
If you or someone you love has suffered a school-related injury, contact Lee Law Offices, P.A. for a free and confidential consultation with our North and South Carolina attorneys. Call 1-800-887-1965.
More Blog Entries:
Carolina Charter Bus Accident Involves 28 Students, Kills Driver, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, June 18, 2013.
New Film Captures Reality of Brain Injuries, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, August 2, 2013.