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  • Date :
  • 3/28/2007

Danger of Heavy Backpacks Not to Back

over them than suffer back strains from carrying them

, researchers School children who lug around heavy backpacks are more likely to get hurt tripping said on Monday.

Most backpack-linked injuries are cuts and sprains from tripping over or getting hit by one, or gouging a hand while reaching inside, they said in a report published in the journal Pediatrics.

Heavily publicized warnings to lighten schoolchildren’s backpacks would eliminate fewer than one quarter of pack-related injuries, the report said.

Teaching children to put packs out of harm’s way and not swing them like a mace would pay bigger safety dividends, it said.

There were more than 12,000 U.S. injuries blamed on backpacks between 1999 and 2000, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The researches examined hundreds of cases and found 89 percent of such injuries were to body parts other than the back.

Strained backs were the sixth most common type of backpack-related injury, after injuries to the head or face, hands, wrist or elbow, shoulder, and foot or ankle.

“Recommending that children put the backpacks in a safe place so they do not trip over them, and not to use them as a weapon to hit another person, could eliminate more than 40 percent of backpack injuries” that required a hospital emergency of backpack injuries” that required a hospital emergency room visit, wrote study author Brent Wiersema, and orthopedist at Bi-County Community Hospital in Warren, Michigan.

“The actual use of a backpack (wearing, lifting and taking it off) is not exceptionally dangerous, and efforts should be directed toward educating children on proper backpack safety habits rather than restricting loads and redesigning backpacks,” Reuters quoted the report as saying.

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