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Heavy backpacks causing harm to students

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Updated: 10/12/2013 12:51 am
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Textbooks are one of the heaviest items a child has to carry around for school.

Now, with the school year well underway, doctors are warning parents to look out for warning signs that point to your child's backpack being too heavy.

"They can experience back aches, tingling, numbness in their arms and legs and they can also have lower leg pains," said Dr. Aylin Ozdemir

Eighth-grader Harrison Snowden has become accustomed to the weight of a stuffed backpack.

Snowden says he's never experienced that kind of pain, but feels his posture has been affected.

"One day when I was carrying my backpack it was really really heavy I was moving forward to equalize the weight and I was like maybe that's the reason my postures like this, I'm working on it right now," said Snowden.

Ozdemir recommends children use a wide, padded strapped backpack, and try to eliminate anything that's not needed inside.

"Kids should not carry more than 20 percent of their body weight," said Ozdemir.

Snowden is one of the luckier students. His middle school allows the students to use lockers during the day, to help take away some of the pressure.

But Ozdemir says if you don't have a locker, keep heavy books and electronics to the center of your backpack and pull up the straps.

She says if there is no way to make the backpack lighter, she encourages students to lift the weight with their knees instead of their back.
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