Carrying a backpack over the course of a school career shapes your growing child’s back and determines their posture. Picking a backpack that gives them the support they need will ensure healthy growth and reduce the risk of back and neck pain and problems in later life. Backpacks also need to be fitted and adjusted properly and regularly as your child grows. Backpacks must be worn properly and shouldn’t be excessively heavy. Here are some pointers to consider when selecting a backpack:
Opt for a bag with two straps which allows for even distribution of weight across both shoulders. Encourage your student to wear the backpack properly to ensure even load distribution.
Lower or lift the backpack using the adjustable straps so that the heaviest part of the bag is at waist height.
Opt for padded shoulder straps to prevent heavy bags from digging into the shoulders. The optimal situation would be to get a bag that has a padded wait strap. When tightened and correctly adjusted, the bag’s weight then rests on your child’s hips and this puts very little strain on the shoulders and back. Unfortunately, these kinds of bags aren’t very fashionable so it could be a hard sell for older students.
You can mitigate some of the backpack strain if you buy a bag with wheels. It’s best to get a bag that has both wheels and straps because wheels can be difficult to use in the snow or with stairs. Many of the bags with wheels are too big to fit into a locker.
The standard rule is that a child shouldn't carry a backpack that exceeds 10%-15% of their body weight. You can check the weight of your child’s backpack with a bathroom scale. If the backpack is regularly too heavy, speak with the teacher about ways to reduce the weight.
If backpacks are too heavy, encourage your student to carry some books in their arms and to drop off everything they don’t need in their lockers between lessons to reduce their carrying weight.
Further reduce weight by opting for lightweight backpacks. Heavy leather satchels or branded fashionable options may add a lot of unnecessary weight.
Caring for your backpack will help to extend its life. Don’t machine-wash backpacks; instead submerge them in a tub of warm water and scrub with soap and a brush.
Make a tick list of all you want and need in a backpack. Be sure that it is small enough to fit into a locker and big enough to carry everything from laptops to ring binders. Opt for comfort over making a fashion statement and go for one that is lightweight and functional.
Buy the right size bag for your student and encourage daily cleanouts so that the pack never weighs more than 15% of their body weight.