The Healthy Way for Kids to Wear Their Backpacks

Sep 7th 2016

Children holding books with backpacks on

Because bad backpack habits can plague your back-to-school season

As a parent, it’s not something that we always think about. I mean, how often does the safety of your child’s backpack cross your mind? But truthfully, it’s more important than you may think.

Why does the way they wear their backpack matter?

 We remember those days: back in middle and high school when there was always a new backpack trend. Between wearing it on one shoulder, splurging on a messenger bag, and wearing bags way lower than they’re supposed to go, there are lots of unhealthy practices that might surprise you. Though, honestly, most of us wouldn’t think twice about it. After all, wearing a backpack incorrectly can’t be that big of a deal, right?

 The truth is that our habits can greatly affect our bodies. And with backpacks seeming to only get heavier each year, the way a student wears his or her bag can have an impact on his or her joints, damaging them and causing pain throughout the body (both short and long-term).

 But the fact of the matter is that if we’re learning at a place other than home, we most likely need to tote around a number of books, notebooks, pencils, and other supplies. So what can be done?

 When properly worn, most bags are designed to evenly distribute weight, thus lessening strain. There several guidelines to help ensure students properly and safely wear their backpacks:

  • A backpack should not hang more than a few inches below the waist. The lower it hangs, the more weight the shoulders must carry. The optimal location for the bag to lay is about two inches above the waist.
  • Wide, padded shoulder straps help avoid digging into the shoulders.
  • Make sure shoulder straps are tightened firmly. If weight falls on only one strap due to unevenness, it puts stress on only one side of the body and may lead to muscles spasms.
  • A hip strap should be used when carrying heavy loads to distribute weight evenly between the back and the hips.
  • The heaviest items should be packed closest to the back.
  • When lifting a heavy pack, your child should remember to bend at the knees and use his or her legs to lift.
  • Don't overload the backpack. Your child should not carry more than 15-20 percent of his or her weight.
  • Consider purchasing a backpack on wheels or an extra set of books for home.

 These tips were designed with student health and happiness in mind. Because no strain means no pain! And less pain means more play time after the homework is all finished! And that’s something we can get behind. Want more useful health and parenting tips? Check out our blog!