Backpack Safety: Limit the weight your kids are carrying

Between textbooks and Chromebooks – kids are expected to carry a lot back and forth to school.   However, if too heavy, carrying their backpack could lead to back pain and other issues.

In the video below, Dr. Bryce Basques, a fellowship-trained spine surgeon at University Orthopedics, shared some valuable tips recently on how you can help ensure your children don’t end up injured.

Loading a Pack

  • A child’s backpack should weigh no more than about 10% of his or her body weight. For example, a student weighing 100 pounds should carry a backpack heavier than 10 pounds.
  • Make sure to load the heaviest items closest to the child’s back (the back of the pack) and use pockets and compartments to make sure weight is evenly distributed.
  • Only carry items that are necessary.
  • Carry some items outside the pack if the backpack is too heavy.

Wearing a Pack

  • Use both straps. This ensures weight is distributed evenly. Wearing a pack slung over one shoulder can cause a child to lean to one side, curving the spine and causing pain or discomfort.
  • Backpack should have well-padded shoulder straps to prevent too much pressure on blood vessels and nerves which can cause pain and tingling in the neck, arms, and hands.
  • Adjust the shoulder straps so that the pack fits snugly on the child’s back. A pack that hangs loosely from the back can pull the child backward and strain muscles.
  • Wear the waist belt if the backpack has one. This helps distribute the pack’s weight more evenly.
  • The bottom of the pack should rest in the curve of the lower back. It should never rest more than four inches below the child’s waistline.
  • School backpacks come in different sizes for different ages. Choose the right size pack for your child as well as one with enough room for necessary school items.