Fortunately, there are ways to prevent our kids from experiencing pain or discomfort from backpacks--something most kids will wear to school every day for the entire 9-month school year.
- Kids and teens should always use both straps when carrying a backpack because using one strap shifts the weight to one side and causes muscle pain and posture problems.
- Look for a backpack with padded shoulder straps and a padded back to protect the back from hard textbooks with sharp edges that can sometimes jut out from the inside and stick a child’s back.
- A backpack should never be wider or longer than your child's torso and never hang more than 4 inches below the waist
- Avoid “Cinch” or drawstring bags, rolling backpacks, leather bags, and messenger bags.
- For younger children, hip and chest belts can help transfer some of the weight from the back and shoulders to the hips and torso.
- Backpacks with compression straps on the sides or bottom help stabilize the contents.
- For kids that have to walk to school or wait for the bus in the early morning before the sun comes out, a backpack with reflective material will help ensure that your child is seen by drivers.
Making sure your child's backpack follows these criteria is a simple action you can take to help prevent your child from experiencing back pain or suffering injuries.