Student packs hurt their backs


Ryan Franaszek

Students carry large backpacks improperly in the hallway, putting their backs at risk of injury.

Ryan Franaszek, Staff Writer

Every day, between school work and extracurricular activities, Carlmont students lug their binders, notebooks, lunch, and other equipment all on their backs.

The immense amount and weight of supplies that students bring may equate to their academic success at the cost of their physical health.

According to the Huffington Post, Dr. Daniel Green, M.D. and orthopedic surgeon, said, “Improperly used backpacks may injure muscles and joints and can lead to severe back, neck, and shoulder pain, as well as posture problems.”

Even with the pain that comes from carrying heavy objects on their backs, many students continue to use traditional backpacks instead of using a rolling one.

“For one, using a rolling backpack is an inconvenience to the students around you. If you stroll it around the school, you are sure to bump into other people as well as have issues going up stairs. It’s much easier for me to put my bag on my back instead of rolling something around like a piece of luggage. Also, you look like an elementary school student with it, which is plain childish,” said Charles Huang, a sophomore.

Students, regardless of how a traditional backpack is used, can develop health issues from the sheer weight of the school supplies that are placed on their backs.

The American Academy of Pediatrics said, “The backpack should never weigh more than 10 to 20 percent of a child’s body weight.”

For example, a student weighing about 145 pounds should carry no more than about 30 pounds on his back to avoid spinal issues or straining his shoulders.

However, there are ways in which students can minimize the stress on their backs and prevent straining on their shoulders and back muscles.

In his article “Tips to Prevent Back Pain from Kids’ Backpacks,”John J. Triano, Ph.D., said, “Look for backpack design features that help reduce the chance of back pain: lightweight material (canvas as opposed to leather), two padded, wide (2-inches), adjustable shoulder straps on the backpack, padded back, individualized compartments, hip strap, waist belt, or frame to redistribute the weight of the backpack from the shoulders and back to the pelvis.”

Some students might not want to use a backpack with wheels, but every student is encouraged to be mindful of what they can do to benefit their health at school.