(WIAT) — A new study shows the effect heavy backpacks could have on your child’s back. Doctor Ken Hansraj co-authored a study that measured how wearing a backpack impacts the spine. Hansraj says carrying too heavy a load puts children and teens at risk for long-term health problems because they are stressing areas of the spine and core that are still growing. He recommends young kids carry no more than the equivalent of 10 percent of their body weight.
For example five pounds is the recommended carrying weight for a 50-pound six-year-old.
Hansraj states, “Ten pounds in your backpack then the forces on the spine is seven times, which is seventy pounds of force. So if you’re struggling uphill 20 degrees then the forces become 120 pounds.”
Researchers also say using both straps, keeping them tight, and practicing good posture can also reduce pressure on the spine.