Proper Backpack Loading for Kids (And Adults Too)

More and more young people are dealing with back and neck pain. While there are a number of reasons for this, one might be the way children load their backpacks. Have you seen kids walking around with bags half their size? Here are some tips to help protect your child’s spine, and you can apply some of the same principles to your briefcase, purse, or backpack.

Don’t Overload the Backpack

Especially for children, it is important that the bag is not overloaded. A good rule of thumb is to ensure that your child’s backpack is no more than 10% of his or her body weight. So if your child weighs 75 pounds, the bag should weight 7.5 or less.

Position the Bag Properly

There are two key elements to positioning a child’s backpack properly.

  • Make sure the straps are the right length: The bottom of the bag should rest around the beltline. If the bag is higher than that, the straps are too short. If the back is lower than that, the straps are too long. Keeping the bag at the right height will help your child to avoid leaning either forward or backward with the weight.
  • Make sure strap length is even: You don’t want the bag pulling to one side. To keep the weight evenly distributed, you need to make sure that the length of the straps is even. You will also have to provide reminders to your child to use both straps since kids have a tendency to throw their backpack over one shoulder, and that defeats the purpose of using this style of bag.

Pack the Bag Properly

You want to carry the heaviest weight (for example, books) close to the body. If there are multiple pockets in the bag, the heaviest items should be in the pocket that is against the back. If the backpack just has one big pocket, load the heaviest items at the bottom. This will both help your child’s posture and will keep lighter items from being crushed.

Remember to teach your child how to pack his or her own bag because they will be loading it up to come back home.

Help for Sore Backs of All Ages

If you or your child ends up with a sore back due to carrying a heavy bag or for any other reason, contact Ward Chiropractic and Rehabilitation. We have evening and Saturday morning appointments to meet your family’s busy schedule. Call us at (703) 672-1661 to schedule an appointment.