Are backpacks hurting your child? - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Are backpacks hurting your child?

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) -

September is Backpack Safety Month, a great time to see how your child's backpack measures up.

"Wearing it all day your back kind of hurts yeah, just a little, after awhile it goes away," said Cape Girardeau Central High School Freshman Travis.

"I have to go home I have to lay down my shoulders hurt all the time," said Cape Girardeau Central High School Freshman Demarcus.

A hurt that Chiropractor Greg Pursley says you can prevent.

He says to make sure the backpack doesn't weigh more than 10 percent of the child's body weight.

"Bigger is not always better in backpacks, the smaller the backpack, the less stuff they can fit in it," said Pursley.

A backpack shouldn't hang more than 4 inches below the child's waistline.

"The lower it goes the more it will make them lean back," said Pursley.

Your child should wear both shoulder straps, wearing only one can shift the weight disproportionately to one side, causing problems like scoliosis.

The straps should be adjustable and tight to make sure it doesn't dangle too low.

"Wake sure it is tight again, so it's not loose against your back so if they're moving fast it doesn't slam against," said Chiropractor Seth Hudson.

Ask teachers if your child can leave heavier books at home or school, and only carry lighter books or workbooks.

"Over the last I think it was 15 years, the books on average have gotten heavier, now they're looking around more like four pounds per book and if you look at five classes a day, that's 20 pounds," said Pursley.

Pursley says backpacks even have designs to prevent injury.

"Different compartments in the backpacks are very important too," said Pursley. "If you have different compartments, the weight gets distributed evenly."

Or Hudson says a waist strap can help.

"You tighten it, it will keep pressure off your lower back," said Hudson. "If this is here it uses your core strength and your bigger muscles to take pressure off your lower back its safer and a lot more comfortable."

But not everyone uses them.

"Nowadays they come and they got these buckles, kind of relieves the wait, not everybody wears them...you get kind of made fun of," said Travis.

A lot of times it's not even the backpacks that are the problems, it's the purses and athletic bags for activities after school.

Activities that Cape Girardeau Central High School Freshman Kevin Hendrickson doesn't want to put in jeopardy.

"I just don't want to be injured for the whole season and not be able to play," said Hendrickson.

Pursley says books aren't the only things weighing down kids' bags. He says it can be things like laptops, cell phones, even lunches.

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