How to avoid back pain from backpacks
Research into kids’ back pain has found that children should carry a backpack weighing no more than 10 percent of their body weight.
This means that if your child weighs 70 pounds, his or her backpack should weigh seven pounds or fewer. If your child weighs 110 pounds, the backpack should not be more than 11 pounds.
With all the supplies and books your child has to carrying, meeting this guideline can be difficult. You can take steps to reduce backpack weight, starting with the backpack you buy.
Backpacks should be appropriately-sized for your child so that the weight is evenly distributed, and your child is not tempted to overfill the compartments. Look for a backpack that:
- Is not wider or longer than a child’s torso
- Does not hang more than four inches below the waist
- Has padded shoulder straps
You can limit the supplies your child has to carry to and from school by requesting a second set of textbooks that can be kept at home.
Older children can avoid carrying too much weight in their bags during the day by stopping at their lockers frequently to change out supplies and books. They should always wear backpacks with both straps, never just one, to keep the weight evenly distributed.
February 27, 2020
Janet O’Dell, RN