Heavy Backpacks - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

Heavy Backpacks

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DEVILLE, La. – Parents in Cenla are mad that their children's backpacks are so heavy, and doctors say back problems are on the rise. News Channel Five's Nolan Crane reports.

Haiden Shelton is a Buckeye High School student with a backpack filled with books--in her mom's opinion--too many books.

"We weighed Haidens the other day and it is actually fifteen pounds," says Mia Starrett.

Starrett says she believes that students' are overwhelmed with this burden.

"That's ridiculous for kids to have to pack that many books, to cause problems and back aches and shoulder aches," says Mia Starrett.

The principal says there is a good reason why so many of his students are burdened like this--there just aren't enough lockers.

"Ninth through twelfth grade does not have lockers in the building. Whenever this school was built four years ago, they didn't have funding at the time to provide lockers," says Jonathan Garrett.

Even though her daughter has a locker, Starrett says she often doesn't have time between classes to get to it.

"There is only a certain amount of time. they are limited to as far as being able to go to the restroom, get their books and get to the next class so really there only option is to carry their book sacks with them," says Mia Starrett.

Doctors at Rapides Regional Hospital say these heavy backpacks can cause serious health problems and the number of cases of young people they are treating is on the rise.

"We're starting to see episodes of children who present with back pain and it's almost always associated with backpacks.

Sometimes students feel like the weight of the world is on their shoulders--but this doctor says, that can be distributed, with something as simple as a different type of backpack design

"It should actually have a waist strap or a hip strap to immobilize the backpack on the child," says Dr. Michael Manuel.

Haiden might need to get a different type of backpack since it doesn't look like her load will be lightened any time soon.

The principal of buckeye high school says a lot of the textbooks the kids use stay in the classroom, but with seven classes, heavy backpacks are a fact of life.

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