Backpack Safety: What You Need to Know Before Back to School


It’s back to school time and that means kids are going to be carrying backpacks once again. Many kids don’t have access to lockers throughout the school day, and even when they do, they are not often lightening the load with their backpacks. Approximately 75% of the kids who use backpacks complain of some kind of back pain, and therefore you should be aware of the issue.

You have to look at the weight of the backpack and compare it to their overall body weight. Doctors and chiropractors agree that the weight shouldn’t be more than 10% of their body weight. 15% is the maximum; otherwise, it could result in severe neck, shoulder, and back pain as well as headaches. If kids have scoliosis, it can also aggravate an existing condition.

This means that a 60 pound child should not carry more than 9 pounds and a 100 pound child should not carry more than 15 pounds. However, do you know how heavy your child’s backpack is? Once they have started school, gotten their books, and all of their supplies, you should haul the backpack to the bedroom scale to see what the reality is.

Figure out some ways that the load can be reduced. There may be a few things that they don’t need in there. This can include a binder, a book, or something else. You may even want to talk to your child’s teachers about how to reduce the load. Maybe there is a way for them to leave certain textbooks in the classroom or a locker if it is not needed for homework that night.

You also want to make sure that your child is carrying the backpack properly. It may be easier to sling the backpack over one shoulder when moving from one classroom to another, but this can cause damage to the spine. The burden is placed one side of the back. Instead, both straps should be used so that there is even weight distribution. Further, the straps should be tightened so the weight is able to sit higher up as opposed to drooping down and putting unnecessary pressure on the shoulders.

You should always be with your child when they pick out a backpack. Function should be over fashion all the time. The backpack should fit properly and have padded straps that are adjustable. If there is going to be a heavier load in the backpack, a hip strap should be present as well. When there are more features for support, it will be easier for a kid to carry the backpack.

If your child is already having back problems as a result of a heavy backpack or for any other reason, you can make an appointment with the chiropractor. Kids need spinal manipulation from time to time just as adults do. There is nothing wrong with bringing your kid into a chiropractor, and it can help them to achieve better spinal alignment so they can enjoy less back pain now and through their adult lives.