Backpacks QUICKGuide

No saggy backpacks

The backpack should be adjusted so the back of the backpack fits snugly against the back.

Use both straps

If your child has a backpack with two straps (i.e. not the messenger style), try to persuade your child to use both straps.  This helps even out the load across both shoulders rather than 15 pounds of books and supplies resting on just one.  Repetitively carrying a backpack with only one strap can lead to muscle imbalances, strain, and some posture issues.

Watch and listen for signals of pain

If you see your child struggling or even if they comment about pain from carrying a backpack, there are steps you can take.  You can try a different backpack with wider straps with more padding, or even talk to the school about ways to decrease the load.  Maybe they have extra copies of the heaviest books that could be kept at home.

Not all backpacks are created equal

There are variations in quality and craftsmanship in any product you look at, the same is true for backpacks.  Two shoulder straps are better than one.  Look for one with a padded back and wide padded straps for increased comfort.  You want a backpack constructed with lightweight (but strong) materials.  For even further improvement you could pick one with a waist strap, but its usefulness really depends on your child, whether they would even use it and the culture at the school.  Same with rolling backpacks, if it works for your child and they feel comfortable with it, it is a great saver from back, neck and shoulder strain.

Clean out that backpack

Encourage kids to regularly clean out their backpacks; you may need to assist.  With all the materials, books, and papers constantly going back and forth from school, it’s easy for backpacks to become overloaded.  Whatever system works for your family, if it’s going through it every day after school or every week on Sunday, just find a routine that fits to declutter.

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