Heavy schoolbag fractures child's collarbone

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A fourth grader in Ho Chi Minh City was rushed to hospital Saturday with a broken collarbone that doctors believe was caused by an inordinately heavy schoolbag.

X-ray images also show nine-year-old Bui Thi Yen Anh has a wry backbone.

Anh's family and doctors at Van Hanh General Hospital have confirmed that she didn't fall, get hit or injured before her hospitalization.

The 9-year-old told the doctors that "[her backpack] is very heavy. Every day I walk around 15 minutes over 2 kilometers to school (and 2 km back).

The bag is so heavy that sometimes I couldn't lift it up any more. I had to sit down, move my arms behind and use my back as a support to lift it."

Anh is 4 feet 2.8 inches and weighs around 27 kilograms and the bag is more than 4.5 kilograms, always containing four 200-page notebooks, five textbooks, a 250-ml bottle of water, a coat and a box of pens.

She said all of her 46 classmates also complained that their bags were too heavy. One of her friend said he had nightmares about being weighed down on by the bag.

Anh came home from Tan Thoi Thanh Primary School on Friday afternoon and said her shoulder hurt so much she couldn't stand it, her parents said.

Her father told local news website VietNamNet that Anh said she was tired and went to bed early on Friday night.

"The next morning, when I arrived at work, her mother called me to return home quickly and I saw her left shoulder was badly bruised and swollen. She couldn't hold anything or raise her arm," the father said.

He said his family has an old motorbike and he drives that to work at around 5 a.m. Hereafter he will  take the public bus to work, which will take him an hour, and leave the motorbike for his wife to drive Anh to school, he said.

Doctor Huynh Ba Linh, an orthopedic bone surgeon at the hospital, said Anh needs surgery but as she's still young and her family is poor, doctors have used bands and belts to keep the bones back in place.

"A fracture due to a backpack is rare but the case has raised an alarm. The number of students carrying heavy bags like Anh is not small," Linh said.

A fifth grader from another school in Thu Duc District, told local news website VnExpress everyone fears the schoolbag. "I wish it contained just one notebook."

Several researches have said children should not carry anything that is beyond one tenth of their bodyweight.

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