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The Little Bighorn had to happen precisely as it did, with the ensuing loss of life, for America to grow into the place that it is today. Think of it this way: for Americans in 1876, the massacre at the Little Bighorn was the very visceral twin of the attack on 9/11.

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By now, most of our children are safely back to their usual school-time routines. They have their books, crayons, pencil sharpeners, glue sticks and all the necessary (and hyper expensive) trapper keepers.

But where do they put all of their supplies? They have to get to their homework, schoolbooks, lunch and assorted other treasures somehow.

Look around and you’ll see the answer at every bus stop. Today, for most kids, the backpack has replaced the traditional schoolbag. But with all of those assorted supplies in the bag, it puts a strain on a child’s back.

Here are some tips on how you and your child can prevent back strain.

The first feature to look for in a back pack is a waist strap. When this strap is used, it puts less strain on the lower back and evens out the weight so all the back and shoulder muscles can be used. L.L. Bean, for example, makes strong and durable bags that come standard with waist straps.

Next, only buy a bag with plenty of padding on both the shoulder straps. This distributes the weight evenly across the back and shoulders to lighten the load even further.

Make sure to ask your child if he or she is experiencing any pain in their back, shoulders or stomach. Yes, even the stomach can be injured from improper backpacking. If your prince or princess has a tendency to carry their back on one shoulder, make them stop this unhealthy practice. Putting all of that weight on one side can practically crush the ribs and contribute to everything from poor posture to much more serious back problems.

It’s never a bad idea to try a hiking pack, as long as it isn’t bigger than your child. The recommended mass should not exceed 10 to 15 percent of your son’s or daughter’s weight. For instance, if a 45-pound child is packing up, make sure the bag is no more than seven pounds.

Many back packs are flashy and just a little too trendy for their own good. There are good ones out there, you just have to find them.

*Statistics provided by Einstein Hospital, Philadelphia

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