Do you know what's in your child's backpack? A South Mississippi chiropractor says many parents don't realize that their child's book bags are too heavy and could cause back pain or other injuries.


Poplarville chiropractor Dr. Kelvie Culpepper says many children are overloading their backpacks, wearing them the wrong way, or carrying ones that are not age appropriate. She wants to warn parents of the dangers of overloaded backpacks.  The new book bag students get to show off is one of the joys of going back to school.  But as children get older and bigger, so does the load they bear.


Dustin Slade and Peyton Swanzy are D'Iberville High students. They carry an average of seven to ten pounds in their backpacks every day.  "My orthopedic told me, you lean and hurt your back, and he told me to carry it with two straps and that's what I do," said Peyton.  "I do the two straps. I'm not cool enough for one strap," said Dustin with a smile.


But according to Dr. Kelvie Culpepper, too many children are carrying their bags the wrong way and they are weighing themselves down.  "They're coming in with lower back pain, mid back pain, shoulder pain, neck pain with their backpacks, caused by backpacks. They're heavy, very heavy. The average recommended weight for a backpack is 10-percent of a child's bodyweight," said Culpepper. 


Even at that level, Culpepper said it could be too much for a child.  "They're still leaning forward with their backpacks on. It's causing a lot of stress and so 10-percent may be too heavy. These backpacks weigh anywhere from 25-35 pounds and you're putting it on an 80-100 pound child. They can barely carry them," Culpepper.


The Poplarville chiropractor is also a certified backpack safety instructor. She has conducted numerous seminars at schools, focusing on the strain overloaded packs can cause on growing bodies.  "I'm not sure if it's becoming an issue more because books are becoming larger, they're carrying more of an academic class load, and too, we've done away with lockers," said Culpepper.