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Back-friendly backpacks: things to know

Back to School Supplies
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Another school year is just a hop away and now is the time for parents and kids to shop for back-to-school essentials. Clothing is always on the top of the list, but another important item to buy is a backpack. This year, make sure your child has a backpack that will not only provide storage, but also comfort.

A large concern for parents with school-aged children is the weight of backpacks due to school supplies, as well as heavy books. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, a child should carry no more than 10 to 20 percent of their body weight on their back daily. Without a properly-fitting backpack, children are at risk for back, shoulder, and spinal problems.

Here are some helpful tips on how to shop for a comfortable and back-friendly backpack.

Think of it This Way

  • A good rule of thumb when shopping for a new school backpack is to compare it to shopping for a new outfit. While it is important for clothes to fit well, the same is true for backpacks.

Before you Shop

  • Before having your child use a backpack from the previous year, have them try it on first. Kids grow fast, especially between the ages of 8 and 16. There’s a good chance your child has outgrown their formerly used bag and will need a new one.

While Shopping

  • Just like trying on a potentially new outfit at the store, have your child try on backpacks before purchasing. If the pack cannot be adjusted to rest upon the lower back, it is the wrong size. This will lead to discomfort, so try again.
  • Check for curved, padded shoulder straps, as well as waist and sternum straps.

During Wear

  • Clip the sternum and waist straps together. Doing so will help distribute the weight of the pack so the shoulders bare less of the heft.

Another Good Tip

  • Find out if your child’s school has extra copies of textbooks available to keep at home for homework. This will stop the daily hassle of lugging books back and forth between school and home.

To shop for the most currently recommended backpacks, click here.