It’s back-to-school time and this week’s Morrison County Record is full of school-related stories. I’m going to comment on just one of them: “Tips for protecting children from too-heavy backpacks.” This story was submitted by Northwestern Health Sciences University. I’d link to it, but it doesn’t appear to be on the Record’s website. Here’s a recap of the tips (I’m paraphrasing):

1. Backpacks should weigh no more that 10-15 percent of child’s weight.

2. Make sure backpacks have padded handles. Use the waist strap.

3. Don’t sling it over one shoulder; use both straps.

4. Too many books? Take some out of backpack & carry them in your arms.

5. Get one of those backpacks on wheels.

6. Use good posture.

7. Exercise so your posture returns to normal after lugging around your backpack.

You’ll notice that all of the onus for too-heavy backpacks is put on the parents and the children. Nowhere in the article does it suggest that maybe the school could be doing something different. Less homework is a possibility. Or, how about soft-cover textbooks that come in slim sections, so children don’t have to haul hard-cover books home? Why not give homework in the form of worksheets, instead of books?

I can guarantee you that if our school districts had to pay for the chiropractic visits of children thrown out of alignment by too-heavy backpacks, they’d take part in the solution.

Yours with an out-of-whack spine,

P.F.A. Pickerel