Backpack Weight Concern for Students

By: Ashley Porter
By: Ashley Porter

Fifth 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," said Emory.

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

Doctors recommend that, when you pack your backpack, leave 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," said physical therapist, Lindsey Byrd. "It (the backpack) 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."

Fifteen percent of Alyssa's weight would mean a 13.5 pound backpack, instead of 33 pounds.

"I kind of have to bend and make my back into sort of a table-like thing to go everywhere," said Alyssa.

"Coming home like that on a daily basis is just too much," said Grace.

If your child is having problems with a heavy backpack, physical therapists say talk to the school about possibly providing a set of books to keep in the classroom. You should also urge your children to let you know if they have any back pain.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Concerned Location: Meridian on Aug 22, 2009 at 06:44 PM
    The weight of bookbags has been a concern of mine for years. Children are still growing and this can cause permanent back problems. My children always carried all their books because they could not get to their locker due to the large crowds in the halls. In order to be on time to class, they opted to carry their bags everywhere. They often spoke of their bags being too heavy. We live in the computer age and it would be good if the district would start buying the textbooks on DVD or have a way to use a text online.
  • by Annonyms Location: Meridian on Aug 22, 2009 at 03:27 PM
    Look I am a student at carver middle school (3rd year) my book bag has gotten bigger and heavier and I have to carry my books because they would either get stolen or ruined and students like me have had to keep their books with them because of younger brothers or sisters. I do agree that the bookbags are heavy. Last year it was a mess with the bookbags I went through over 5 bookbags just in the 2years that I have been at carver.
  • by Sabina Location: Meridian on Aug 19, 2009 at 08:33 AM
    I really think this problem should be addressed by the schools. I have had to take both of my children to the doctor for adjustments for several years. They have been going to school for a few weeks and they need to go now. I don't have insurance anymore due to my job place closing and I can't afford to take them every week. I can't pick their book bags up, how are expected to carry them all day.Every teacher wants a big binder plus a text book for most classes. They are in high school so they have to walk a long way. They don't have time to go to a locker between classes, so what do they do?
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