Heavy backpacks causing back injuries

The beginning of a school year means new school supplies, and new backpacks to haul it all in, but those carefully selected colorful backpacks may be causing back pain.

"Sometimes it gets heavy," said Michael Dagostino, a fifth grader at Forestbrook Elementary School.

"Over time that's going to cause some trouble," said Dr. Stephen Parker with Carolina Orthopedic Specialists.

Dr. Parker says a backpack should weigh less than 10 percent of a child's body weight.

He says in the long run placing heavy weight on the back will cause bad posture which can crush the discs in the spine.

"It's like me taking a 50 pound weight for example and sitting it on top of your head and telling you to walk around like that for a while," said Dr. Parker.

Dr. Parker added that parents should monitor how heavy their child's backpack gets on a daily basis, especially for younger children.

"They're all important ages quite frankly, but in the really small children, like first through fifth graders, we should be particularly careful," said Dr. Parker.

The best way to keep the weight off a child's back is to buy a backpack that rolls on the ground. If a school doesn't allow them, take Dagostino advice; "Sometimes if it gets to heavy on my shoulders, I just take some books out and hold it."

Dr. Parker says 92 percent of children wear backpacks and 32 percent of those complain about back pain.