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Health Tip: Backpack Safety

Here's how to prevent injury

(HealthDay News) -- Heavy school books may cause your child some mental and emotional stress, but don't forget about the physical toll it can take on his neck, back and shoulders.

Backpacks should be selected and worn properly to avoid strain or damage to your child's muscles and joints, according to the Nemours Foundation.

Backpacks are designed to distribute weight across the back and shoulders, but many children wear them with a strap over only one arm. Muscles may be damaged by the weight of books on only one side, so the foundation recommends that your child wear a backpack properly over both arms.

Look for backpacks with straps that are padded and wide, not narrow ones that may put too much pressure on one area of the shoulder or dig into the skin under the weight of heavy books. A padded backpack can help protect your child's back, and a waist belt can help distribute weight across the back and reduce the risk of injury.

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