Backpacks that do not fit properly, worn incorrectly, or are too heavy can create aches and pains for children and teens, especially as their young bones are still forming and delicate.
Features you want to look for include:
- Wide, padded shoulder straps as opposed to narrow ones that can cut into the skin
- Two shoulder straps - one shoulder strap, or messenger bags, can put too much weight on one shoulder
- A padded back to protect sharp edges on the inside of the bags
- Rolling backpacks are also a good choice for kids who do not have to climb stairs during their school day
- Always use both shoulder straps. Draping a backpack over one shoulder can increase curvature of the spine.
- Tighten shoulder straps so the backpack is snug and close to the body (versus hanging low down the back)
- Pack light, and check that the weight of the backpack is never more than 10 to 20 percent of your child's total body weight
- Use the side pockets and compartments
- Encourage your kids to make frequent pit stops at their locker to swap out books throughout the day so they are never carrying a full load
(Courtesy of HealthyChildren.org)