My name is Rey Bosita, I’m a spine surgeon at Texas Back Institute. We’re here to talk today about backpack safety in children.
Backpacks are everywhere nowadays. Kids take them to school, they take them to sports,
they take them to all of their activities. But what if the backpack itself is causing
some damage to the kid’s back they may not even feel today? So this is Derek. Derek is
in kindergarten. Right? Right. So Derek is wearing a backpack. The first thing about
Derek that we should look at is, how does this backpack fit him, how is he standing?
Just looking at him, he’s standing straight upright, that’s a good thing. Second of all,
where is the backpack positioned on his body? On the back. That’s why it’s called a backpack.
Yes it is! But the backpack should be positioned in such a way that it rests higher up on his
back so the shoulder straps are actually a little bit tighter to prevent the backpack
from sagging down. You don’t want the backpack to sag too far down. Everyone always asks,
“How heavy should a backpack be?” Here we have just your garden-variety scale. This
scale says that Derek weighs 50 pounds. So, how heavy should the backpack be? A backpack
should be somewhere between 10 and no more than 15% of a child’s weight. So in his case,
since he weighs 50 pounds, a backpack should weigh between 5 and 7 and a half pounds. So
now the scale says 53 pounds. So that means the backpack itself weighs about 3 pounds.
That’s certainly within the safe and acceptable zone. Ideally for Derek, who weighs 50 pounds,
it should be 5 to 7 and a half pounds, and he’s less than that. That probably explains
why he can walk so easily back and forth with it. But remember, everything adds weight to
the backpack, including the backpack itself. Let’s take another look at his backpack. His
backpack is made out of an ultra-light material so the backpack itself doesn’t weigh too much.
And also, he has a couple of Angry Birds on here, those only weigh a couple of ounces,
and looking back here he has one library book, it’s hard-cover, you know, ideally soft-cover
would be better but sometimes that’s not available, and he has a school binder. There’s not too
much other stuff in here. One thing that’s good about my backpack is it never gets overloaded.
Another thing is it’s just the right size. This is your back safety tip, my name is Rey
Bosita, I am a spine surgeon at Texas Back Institute.