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How to pick a safe back-to-school backpack

Backpacks need to be worn with some common sense about how to distribute weight.


Backpacks should be worn with two shoulder straps so the weight can be distributed evenly. Here, Kamdyn Carwile picks out a black sequined backpack.

Sam O'Keefe/The News & Advance/AP

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It’s back-to-school time, and that means backpacks.

From Nike to Jansport, nearly every kid rocks a backpack of their choice. But this quintessential staple that lugs 10-pound textbooks needs to be worn with some common sense about too much weight and correct weight distribution.

Michael Jofe, the chief of spine services at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood, Fla., provides tips for preventing injury, including wearing a backpack two inches above the waist, not using drawstring book bags to tote heavy objects, and not wearing one strap only.

“It’s important for the health of the child’s back,” he said. “Children care about how they look now. I care about how they look in 30 years,” Dr. Joffe says.

According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, in 2010, nearly 28,000 people were treated in hospitals, doctors’ offices, and emergency rooms for backpack-related injuries.


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