More Homework, Heavier Books, Sore Shoulders

Reduction and/or regulation of the weight of school textbooks is necessary. Each school year millions of children walk to, from and around school carrying backpacks filled with textbooks and materials. Back to school should not mean backaches and pains, but for students who use backpacks, it could mean a visit to a clinic, a hospital, or even an emergency room. Everyone from parents to school administration staffs have started to voice concern about safe weights of backpacks. Backpack-related injuries have increased 256 percent since 1996. In 2000, the Consumer Product Safety Commission tracked visits to physician offices, clinics, and hospital emergency rooms related to backpacks. Children 3-11 years old had a total of 5,531 visits. Children 12-17 years old visited 6,960 times, while students ages 18-21 had 773 visits. In 2001, of the 6,512 children treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries related to backpacks, 54 percent, 3,524, involved children ages five to fourteen. Among the undersigned are students, parents, teachers, school administrators, and doctors who acknowledge that lighter textbooks in schools are essential and would prevent a majority of backpack-related health problems.



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