With “Back to School” season right around the corner, parents are eagerly looking for new backpacks for their kids. But how do you choose a backpack that’s right for your child? How do you make sure the backpack is the appropriate size and won’t put strain on your child’s neck or back? These are all important questions to consider when searching for a new school backpack.
For children, backpacks are critical for carrying their school supplies and books. However, injury may result if the backpack isn’t being worn correctly or if the backpack is too heavy. Here, we offer some tips that you should keep in mind when choosing a backpack for your child.
Choosing a Backpack
#1 Choose padded backpacks with wide shoulder straps
It is important to look for a backpack that contains padding on the back panel (the part of the pack that is in contact with the child’s back). This makes the pack more comfortable and can protect the child’s back from any sharp objects that may be inside the pack. Choose wide shoulder straps because these are more durable and do not dig into the child’s shoulders, which could be painful and cut off circulation.
#2 Backpack should be Lightweight & Durable
Look for a backpack that has nylon fabrics and strong zippers, making the pack resistible to tearing. You may also want to choose one that has reflective fabrics, which can improve visibility at crosswalks and intersections.
Using a Backpack Properly
Use Both Shoulder Straps
If your child wears their backpack using only one shoulder strap, they could potentially strain muscles or injure their shoulder. If your child wants an over-the-shoulder-style bag, make sure they wear it across their body and not just hanging off one shoulder.
Don’t put Too Much Weight into Backpack
A properly filled backpack should not weigh more than 10 lbs. In other words, children should not be putting too much strain on their shoulders and backs everyday. Therefore, it is recommended that parents help young children clean out their backpacks regularly. Make sure to only carry stuff needed for the day, and place heavier items at the top/front of the pack.
Tighten the Straps & Bend YourKnees
A backpack should be close to the body, with the bottom of the pack sitting about 2 inches above the waist. It is a good idea to use the chest strap to relieve some load off the shoulder straps. When wearing a backpack, children should bend using both knees. This prevents them from having to bend at the waist, which can strain the muscles in their back.
Above all, it’s important to make sure that your child’s backpack is not too heavy. If they begin experiencing back pain, tingling or numbness in their limbs, their backpack is likely too heavy and not a good fit for them. Encourage children to lighten the load and make use of their lockers to avoid carrying heavy books around all day.
Remember, it’s critical to choose a proper backpack that is comfortable for your child and won’t put strain on their backs. The health of your child is of utmost importance this back to school season!
Written by: Dr. Kevin Ho, DC & Alyssa Krogh
(1) Hahn, G. (2019, Aug. 19). How to Choose and Use a Backpack. Johns Hopkins Medicine. https://www.hopkinsallchildrens.org/ACH-News/General-News/How-to-Choose-and-Use-a-Backpack