Many children use backpacks for school and other activities. These may be implicated in a variety of injuries serious enough to require emergency therapy. Wiersema et al studied acute backpack injuries in children and discussed ways to prevent these injuries.


Mechanisms of injury:

(1) musculoskeletal strains related to lifting, carrying or putting down the backpack

(2) tripping over a backpack on the floor

(3) reaching into the backpack, either impaling the finger or hand on a sharp object or jamming the fingers against a book

(4) swing the backpack to hit another person

(5) tripping while carrying the backpack (with the added weight affecting the impact of landing)

(6) a loaded pack falling onto a child


Factors increasing the risk of musculoskeletal strain:

(1) excessive weight

(2) improper distribution, with the center of gravity high and away from the back

(3) carrying the pack on one shoulder

(4) twisting the body while lifting or walking

(5) jerking the weight

Common sites of musculoskeletal strains:

(1) shoulder (more frequent than the back)

(2) back

(3) neck

(4) ankle

(5) wrist

(6) elbow


Ways to reduce injury:

(1) reduce the total weight of the back

(2) use hip straps to help distribute the load bearing for heavy packs

(3) packing to properly distribute the weight

(4) educate on the proper way to lift and put down a bag to prevent strain on joints

(5) educate on the proper way to carry the bag to distribute the weight

(6) keep sharp objects in closed containers

(7) not to tolerate the use of the pack as a means to hit another person

(8) to store a removed pack so that it is not tripping hazard

(9) to secure a removed pack so that it cannot fall onto someone


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