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Don’t Send Kids Back to School with Back Trouble

Occupational Therapist Urges Students to Pack Light

It’s a common sight – the first day of school and children of all sizes are walking into school with backpacks that look to be as big as them and just as heavy. It could be a recipe for a lifetime of back pain, according to Rachel Hagemeyer, occupational therapist at The Nebraska Medical Center.


“It’s something people don’t often think about when it’s time to go back to school,” Hagemeyer says. “But research from the American Occupational Therapy Association that has shown that 2,000 children go to emergency rooms and doctors’ offices every year with backpack-related injuries.”

Hagemeyer says there are three things of which parents should be aware when picking out a backpack for their child:

Any time a kid takes off their backpack and is exasperated, or if they have pain, numbness or tingling through the arms and hands, shoulders and neck, that’s a sign that it may be too heavy.”

Hagemeyer says back injuries sustained in children can them into adulthood.