By Holly Lebowitz Rossi

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Among the risks described by Dr. Pierre D'Hemecourt, a sports medicine specialist at Children's Hospital Boston, are stress fractures in the back, inflammation of growth cartilage, back and neck strain, and nerve damage in the neck and shoulders.

The federal Consumer Product Safety Commission calculated that carrying a 12-pound backpack to and from school and lifting it 10 times a day for an entire school year puts a cumulative load on youngsters' bodies of 21,600 pounds — the equivalent of six mid-sized cars.

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Image: Child carrying backpack, via Shutterstock.

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