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New Backpack Aims To Prevent Back Problems

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JOHNSTON COUNTY — Now that students are back in school, they are coming home loaded with homework.The load of books and school supplies they carry in backpacks could take a toll on their back.

Each year, thousands of kids go to the emergency room due to bookbag-related neck and back injuries. The design of the bags, and how students wear them can make a big difference.

Ideally, kids should only carry no more than 10 to 15 percent of their body weight in their backpack.

"Over half of those kids are carrying weights greater than that which can cause musculoskeletal injuries," says chiropractor Dr. Timothy Swank.

The way your child carries their backpack can cause injury, too. Many kids wear them too low on their backs or over one shoulder.

Chiropractors say that it is best that backpacks be worn with both straps to evenly distribute the weight inside.

Swank is testing a new type of backpack called the


. With its air-filled straps and pillow, the Airpack takes 80 percent of the weight off the back -- no matter how kids carry it.

"Essentially, the pack, because of the air-filled sacs, is going to float on your back," says Swank."Because of the triangular design, even if the child wants to carry the pack with one shoulder strap, it's still ergonomically correct."

Less strain means less pain for your child


a lower risk of neck and back injuries -- problems that could last a lifetime.

WRAL's Health Team tried it out and the air pillow does feel good on the back. The Airbag starts at $30 and goes up in price.


Ken Bodine, Photographer
Andrea Moody, Producer
Michelle Singer, Web Editor

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