Backpacks are getting bigger and heavier and not in proportion to the size of children. You can recognize when a child’s backpack is too heavy if he or she has to lean their head forward while carrying it in order to sustain balance. For every 2.54 centimetres (one inch) of forward head position compared to the neutral position, the weight of the head increases by 10 pounds/4.5 kilograms on the spine (Kapandji). This forward head position has been linked to many health problems, including decreased lung capacity, altered blood pressure, pain, headaches and digestive issues.
A 2010 study from the University of California, San Diego, concludes that backpack loads are accountable for a substantial amount of back pain in children. The same study says that a full third of children aged 11 to 14 report back pain. Other studies also indicate that a backpack should be no more than 10 percent of your child’s entire body weight. For children under 10 years of age, the backpack’s weight should be closer to five percent of your child’s body weight. Even though these researchers have come to these conclusions, do you really think that a child can handle 10 percent of their body weight? For example, according to this study, it would be sufficient for a ten-year-old weighing 100 pounds to carry the equivalent of a 10-pound sack of potatoes on his or her back. Despite the findings in this study, can we logically assume that this individual will develop a poor posture pattern over time?
– Lawrence Woods