Backpack Safety – Watch your back!

Over 79 million students in America carry a backpack and an estimated 55% are carrying a backpack that is too heavy. That is more than 43 million students who could be doing damage to their bodies over many years with repetitive poor postures.

Incorrect wear of backpacks and bookbags can also contribute to musculoskeletal problems including pain in the neck, back and shoulders and lead to dysfunctional posture. Making sure our children wear their backpacks properly can help prevent pain and postural issues.

Backpack tips:

  1. Start with lightweight material - make sure the material is light and durable.
  2. Make sure the shoulder straps are wide and padded. This will provide support and prevent the straps from becoming too tight.
  3. The back of the backpack should have padding. This will provide additional support and prevent discomfort.
  4. A waist strap is beneficial, so the bag does not slide. That way, the contents are held closer to the child's body.
  5. Both straps should be worn at all times. Wearing both straps can help distribute the weight more evenly and prevent your child from leaning to one side.
  6. There should be multiple compartments. That way, it will be easier to evenly distribute the weight of the contents. The heaviest items should be packed low and to the center of the bag.
  7. The backpack with contents should only be 15% of the child's bodyweight. For example, if the child weighs 59 lbs, the backpack with contents should only weigh about 9 lbs.