Heavy backpacks can lead to injury.

If it seems like your child is carrying bricks instead of books in their backpack, you’re not alone.

The American Occupational Therapy Association is urging parents to pay attention to how much weight kids are toting around. Heavy or incorrectly carried loads could lead to injuries or lower back pain that lasts into adulthood. 

The AOTA offers these suggestions to minimize potential problems:

Make sure loaded backpacks do not exceed more than 10 percent of the wearer’s weight. Choose a backpack that fits. It should hang 2 inches below the shoulder blades and extend to waist level or slightly higher. Wear the backpack over both shoulders to distribute weight evenly. Balance weight by loading heavy items closer to the child’s back. Use the hip belt, if provided, to remove some strain from neck and shoulder muscles. 

The AOTA promotes National School Backpack Awareness Day each September. This year’s event was Sept. 20. For more information, go to aota.org/backpack.