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Back To School Tips for Choosing a Backpack

Updated: Sep 20, 2022

In-person school is back and that means it’s a good time to talk about how to choose the right size backpack for your child and how to wear a backpack to avoid injury and back strain.

Finding the right size backpack and features

When choosing a backpack look for one with wide, padded shoulder straps, a waist belt, and back padding. Make sure the pack is not too big for your child and is comfortable to wear.

Avoiding injury and back strain

Avoid wearing the backpack on one shoulder. This can cause your child to lean to one side, causing stress on the joints and muscles of the back. Always wear both straps and adjust them so the pack fits snuggly. You should be able to place a finger between your child’s shoulder and the backpack shoulder strap. If you are unable to, then the straps are too tight and need to be loosened. The waist belt should be worn, as it will help transfer some of the load to the hips and help reduce back strain. When full, the backpack should rest between the shoulders and waist.

When loading the backpack for school keep in mind that the maximum load should be:

  • 10% of your child’s body weight for grades JK - 8

  • 15% of your child’s body weight for grades 9 - 12.

For example, a child, in JK - 8, weighing 40 kg should have 4 kg or less in their backpack.

Finally, pack larger items closer to the child’s back and the heavier objects in the bottom of the pack. This helps distribute the weight.

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