When worn correctly, a backpack is an engineering marvel. Besides being convenient, it works the muscles that are used to carry the load (in the back and abdominals), which are among the strongest in the body. But a bag that’s too heavy or worn incorrectly can cause strain and injury. Here’s what to look for in a backpack for your child and tips on how it should fit.
How to Wear It
• Pack heavier items at the center of the pack.
• Tighten straps so that the pack is close to the body and rests about 2 inches above the waist.
• Carry the pack over both shoulders. The one-shoulder method can strain muscles.
• Make sure the backpack weighs no more than 10 to 15 percent of your child’s body weight. For a heavier load, consider a rolling bag.
• Two wide, padded shoulder straps are better than one for distributing weight evenly.
• A padded back makes carrying the pack more comfortable and keeps sharp-edged books from poking into the skin.
• Lightweight models ensure the backpack itself doesn’t add to the load.
• A waist strap (not included on this model) and different compartments help distribute the weight more evenly.
Consider These• Airpacks, any style
• Jansport Air Vital Backpack
• Just Air Bungee Pack with Hydro Pack
Susan Hayes is a freelance writer who lives in Brooklyn, NY. She is the co-author of 7 Steps to Raising a Bilingual Child.