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. 2003 Jan;111(1):163-6.
doi: 10.1542/peds.111.1.163.

Acute Backpack Injuries in Children


Acute Backpack Injuries in Children

Brent M Wiersema et al. Pediatrics. .


Objective: To identify the most common mechanisms and sites of injury associated with book backpacks in school-aged children, who present to the emergency department. This should help with the development of backpack injury prevention strategies.

Design: A descriptive analysis of The National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) of the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) National Injury Information Clearinghouse data on backpacks.

Setting: One hundred emergency department departments throughout the United States that participate in NEISS data collection served as the setting.

Participants: All children between 6 and 18 years old who were recorded in the NEISS database with a backpack-related injury were studied.

Methods: Patients were identified by review of the NEISS data from 1999-2000. We separated patient data by age, sex, location of injury, and mechanism of injury.

Results: There were 247 children with backpack injuries. The mean age was 11.8 years, and 50% were male. The most common injury location was the head/face (22%) followed by the hand (14%), wrist/elbow (13%), shoulder (12%), and foot/ankle (12%). The back ranked sixth (11%). Of these back injuries, 59% were associated with carrying a backpack. The most common mechanism for injury was tripping over the backpack (28%), followed by wearing (13%), and getting hit by the backpack (13%).

Conclusions: Although the CPSC data on backpack injuries is frequently quoted in articles relating backpacks with back injury, 89% of backpack injuries in our study do not involve the back. Our study does not support the hypothesis that back injury is the major problem with book backpacks in the emergency department setting.

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