In a number of different articles backpack safety has become a big issue. One article from the September 1, 2006 Ancaster News from Ontario, Canada, reports that more than 7,000 people required a trip to the emergency room in 2001 due to backpack-related injuries. These numbers were reported by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Several other interesting facts were noted. Among children age 12 to 18 it was stated that 75 percent suffer from some form of back pain with backpack weight being a large contributor to this statistic. According to an Italian study, one-third of school children regularly carried more than 30 per cent of their body weight in their backpack.
In The Sunday Times from Ireland was a similar article on September 03, 2006 that also covered this issue. In this article they noted that international guidelines suggest that children should carry no more than 10 percent of their total body weight in their backpack. Virginia Cantillon of the Chiropractic Association of Ireland warned, "We see more kids with problems and a lot is attributable to the weights they are carrying. They are having neck problems, mid- and lower-back pain. They are candidates for back pain down the road."
Single shoulder bags may not be a solution, and may even make matters worse, according to a September 5, 2006 article from Montreal, Quebec, Canada in the "CBC News". The article notes that these new single shoulder bags are fashionable, but are a bad idea according to the British Columbia Chiropractic Association. Dr. Don Nixdorf, executive director of the B.C. Chiropractic Association, warns those who use these new bags, "You'll start to have some pain around the neck, which can also lead to headache, and movement is going to be mechanically impaired."
Another article appearing in the September 2, 2006 Ottawa Sun, also notes that "Overloaded packs can lead to damaged backs." In this article Dr. Dean Wright, president of the Ontario Chiropractic Association (OCA) states, "Carrying a poorly designed or overloaded backpack can place excessive weight on a child's growing spinal column." He continued, "This kind of daily stress and strain can lead to serious back pain, changes in posture and gait, and potential irritation and injury of the spine, joints and muscles."