Letter to the Editor: Kids Should Leave Heavy Backpacks at Home

This parenting group is designating Friday, May 4 as 'Back Pack Free Friday'

Dear Editor,

When I see students walking to school or running to catching the school bus, I am saddened and concerned by the heavy weight they are carrying on their backs. Young students, older students –it doesn’t matter, each, needing to take homework and projects to school are hauling a heavy back pack. 

My 6th grader complained of having severe neck pain after a few weeks into the new school year. This prompted us to weigh his back pack. It weighed 18 pounds! We have looked for ways to reorganize and lighten his load. We managed to remove 3 pounds but that is still 15 pounds on his shoulders and back.

I can cite several studies about backpack safety that suggest back packs should not exceed 10 percent of the child’s body weight to prevent back pain or scoliosis or more. 

However, as a keen observer (and I’m sure most parents would agree), watching students walking either hunched over from the weight of the backpack or leaning back because the pack hangs so low (especially on smaller children) can’t be healthy. 

On May 4, "Parenting 2.0" is organizing Back Pack Fee Friday. 

Every day millions of children go to school tired, dehydrated, and many times also hungry. Back Pack Free Friday focuses public awareness on the very real burdens that lack of appreciation for children’s foundational health places on children and schools. 

Back Pack Free Friday is sponsored by an international consciousness movement called Parenting 2.0 (P20), the top ranked parenting group on LinkedIn with nearly 1,700 members in more than 40 countries, P20 advocates a more proactive educational process for non-academic Life Skills.

P20 invites everyone to support Back Pack Free Friday and Stand Up for the welfare of children everywhere by doing the following on Friday May 4, 2012.

  1. Leave back packs at home this day.
  2. Prioritize sleep, hydration, nutrition, and exercise.
  3. Find creative ways to underscore the importance of water, sleep, nutrition and exercise, for all aspects of children’s performance.
  4. Shine light upon professionals who can speak to the importance of prioritizing personal care.
  5. Share the concept of the Life Skills Report Card. http://parenting2pt0.org/about/life-skills-report-card/

Back Pack Free Friday is being promoted all over the world. 

Please spread the message – Let’s lift the burden off children & schools and start on May 4, 2012 by leaving the back packs home! http://parenting2pt0.org/media/

Mitzi Weinman


55 Nichols Road

Needham, MA 02492



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