Bulletproof backpacks: Sales soar in US after shootings

There is a new must-have item for children in the US about to head back to school – and a disturbing one too: bulletproof backpacks. According to manufacturers, sales of the accessories have soared in recent days following the latest deadly mass shootings in America. However, steep prices mean not all parents can afford them.

"We've definitely seen a spike over the past week or so in sales,” says Yasir Sheikh, CEO of Guard Dog Security, one of several companies selling bulletproof backpacks designed for US schoolchildren.

“That could be attributed to back-to-school, but it could also be attributed to some of the national events that are happening as well."

Manufacturers say the backpacks can prevent life-threatening injuries from bullets fired from handguns, though the products have yet to be tested or certified by US authorities.

They are readably available for purchase online and even in some high street retailers such as Walmart.

But critics say the makers of the backpacks are making a profit out of tragedy and exploiting parents’ fears.

And with prices typically starting at above 100 dollars, the items are beyond the means of many parents.

"I'm willing to spend that much money. But do I have that much money to spend on it? No I do not,” says parent Marisol Rodriguez.

“But am I willing to work the hours and the time to do what I have to do as a mother to protect my child? I will," Rodriguez adds.

Earlier this month, 31 people were killed in two mass shootings on the same weekend in the US, in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, while last year saw a record 61 people killed in school shootings according to figures from K-12 School Shooting Database.