Heavy backpacks weigh on students' shoulders - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Heavy backpacks weigh on students' shoulders

By Ashley Porter - email

Students have just returned to school, and already, Three On Your Side is hearing from viewers about children having to carry heavy backpacks.

As the school year begins backpacks can become a weight on students' shoulders. And 5th grader Alyssa Emory, who weighs about 90 pounds, sometimes carries a backpack that's nearly a third of her weight.

"I've been having to come home and take naps because my back's been locking up and cramping really bad," Alyssa said.

"We really didn't realize how much she was going to be toting around on a regular basis,' added Grace Emory, Alyssa's mother.

Doctors recommend that when you pack your backpack, leaving the bulky items toward the front. Then, when you zip it up and put it on your shoulders, make sure to put it on both shoulders so you distribute the weight evenly. It's a growing problem. And Physical Therapist Lindsey Byrd wants to make sure more children don't hurt themselves.

"It should have a padded back on the backside. A waistband would really help to evenly distribute the load. Some kids get really creative in how they carry their backpacks and they'll even carry it on the front, but the front's not always better. The load of the backpack should never be any heavier than 15 percent," Byrd said.

Fifteen percent of Alyssa's weight would mean a 13 and a half pound backpack,  instead of 33.

"I kind of have to bend and make my back into sort of a table-like thing to go everywhere. Coming home like that on a daily basis is just too much," Emory added.

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