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Chiropractors Urge Caution with Backpacks

A story from the July 18, 2000 /PRNewswire warns consumers of the dangers of carrying backpacks too heavily loaded. The article reports on several studies, "A recent survey by Lands End Direct Merchants found that more than 96 percent of children ages 8 to 12 will carry a backpack to school this year. Of those, nearly one-third will carry their backpack improperly. Similarly, a recent study conducted in Italy found that the average child carries a backpack that would be the equivalent of a 39-pound backpack for a 176-pound man, or a 29-pound backpack for a 132-pound woman."

The American Chiropractic Association has offered some tips on proper carrying of backpacks by children.

Make sure the backpack your child is wearing weighs no more than 5 to 10 percent of his or her body weight.
The backpack should never hang more than four inches below the waistline.
A backpack with individualized compartments helps in positioning the contents most effectively.
It is important that your child wear both shoulder straps.

If children are to carry backpacks common sense caution should be used. New models now also come with wheels and handles allowing the backpack to be pulled like rolling luggage when it is too heavy.