By Sara Dayley
St. Louis (KSDK) -- Consider this before sending your kids off to school this morning, according to government statistics nearly 5,000 people visit the emergency room every year because of backpack related injuries.
It's not just the weight of all those books and supplies, it's also how kids are wearing it.
Most experts agree, kids should only carry 10 to 20 percent of their body weight in a backpack, but have you hoisted one lately? Some kids are carrying 20 or 30 pounds worth of schoolwork and that's dangerous.
Overloaded backpacks can cause lower-back pain, and poor posture, but how you wear it is just as important. The traditional - two shoulder strap packs - are designed to distribute weight evenly across the back and abs. When you put heavy weight on your shoulders in the wrong way, it creates an unnatural compression of the spine.
So here's a good way to illustrate proper backpack technique.
Make sure you're using both shoulders and again, don't overload the bag with too much stuff. Ten to 20 percent of the child's body weight is best.
There are also a few things to keep in mind when purchasing a backpack. Look at the material. Lightweight canvas as opposed to leather will help. Adjustable shoulder straps with a padded back also allows more give. A hip strap is also helpful to redistribute the weight from the back to the pelvis. Many students also carry iPads and laptops so you may even consider using a separate bag for those items to lighten the load.