Children come in all shapes and sizes, so some can handle heavier loads better than others," says David Combs, M.D., family practice physician with the Primary Care Group of Oklahoma located in the SouthCreek Medical Plaza at 9001 S. 101st E. Avenue, Suite 270.
"As a general rule, the backpack should never weigh more than 10 to 20 percent of the student's body weight.So, as an example, for a 70-pound child, anything over 14 pounds is too heavy."
To help understand how heavy backpacks can affect your child's body, a clearer understanding of how the back works is helpful.Your child's spine is made of 33 bones called vertebrae, and between the vertebrae are discs that act as natural shock absorbers."When a heavy weight, such as a backpack filled with books, is incorrectly placed on your child's shoulders, the weight's force can pull your child backward," Dr. Combs
However, Dr. Combs
recommends the following steps to help your child avoid back pain and other problems associated with improperly used packs: