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Computer Use Data/Facts:
  • Approximately 45 million children attend schools in the U.S. and almost all are exposed to computers in that setting. As of 1999, almost 90% of schools have Internet access and that number is expected to grow to 100%. Center for Information Technology and Health Research (2001). Children and Information Technology. Report of Symposium, June 11-12, 2001. Baltimore: Department of Environmental Health Services, John Hopkins University.

  • According to Forrester Research, a Cambridge, Massachusetts market analysis firm, 41 million children now use computers at school and 30.5 million have access to PCs at home. The RSI Network, People Concerned About Tendinitis, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, and Other Repetitive Strain Injuries. Issue 45, February 2001.

  • Community-based therapists have reported an increase in the number of students with musculoskeletal injuries and discomfort related to the increased use of computers in the classroom. Harris, C. & Straker, I. (2000). Survey of Physical Ergonomics Issues With School Children's Use of Laptop Computers. International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics, Vol. 26, pp. 337-346.

  • Survey at a middle school of sixth- through eighth-graders in upstate New York by Inger Williams, an ergonomics consultant and an adjunct professor at the University of Rochester, inquired whether they experienced computer-related aches or pains at home or school and found 47% experienced discomfort with wrists, 44% with neck, 43% with eyes and 41% with hands.
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  • Increasing numbers of repetitive strain injuries such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Tendinitis have been recorded among younger Americans. Muscles aches in the lower back, wrists and shoulders have also been seen in may cases as young people sit at computers for long periods of time. The results have been numbness, headaches, neck pain, upper back pain and stiffness of joints and muscles. California Physical Therapy Association.
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Backpack Use and Safety
  • On September 29, 2002, the governor of California signed into the Education Code a law to regulate textbook weight: Assembly Bill 2592. On or before July 1, 2004, the State Board of Education shall adopt maximum weight standards for textbooks used by pupils in elementary and secondary schools. The weight standard shall take into consideration the health risks to pupils who transport textbooks to and from school each day. Section 49415, Education Code, State of California.

  • As published in the journal titled, Ergonomics (2001, Vol. 44, pp. 858-869), researchers (Y.T. Wang, D.D. Pascoe and W. Weimar) estimated that there are 40 million youths who transport their school materials in book bags.
    American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA)

  • Chiropractors have expressed concerns that backpack misuse causes multiple problems and an article in Pain and Central Nervous System Week (9/22/01) reported that in 1999, the use of backpacks resulted in more than 6,000 injuries in the United States. American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA)

  • C. Roth has been quoted in Industrial Hygiene and Safety News that approximately 23% of elementary school youths and about 33% of secondary school youths complain of backaches. American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA)

  • According to a study by researchers from the Cincinnati Children's Hospital and published in the January 2003 issue of the journal Pediatrics, about 23% of all injuries in the 247 children (between the ages of 6 and 18) studied were caused by wearing, lifting or taking off a backpack. "The result shows that the actual use of a backpack is not exceptionally dangerous, and efforts should be directed toward educating children on proper backpack safety habits rather than restricting loads and redesigning backpacks." The study acknowledges a limitation: By focusing on injuries that sent children to emergency department, it misses those injuries diagnosed and treated in a physician's office. Health Watch News - Study Downplays Kids' Backpack Injuries

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