• Jessica Gradel,DC,MS,L.Ac

Backpack Safety 101

And What are Heavy Backpacks Doing to Our Kids' Bodies !

Backpacks are part of growing up for most children but often if worn incorrectly can lead to back pain which shouldn't be the norm for children. To prevent pain caused by improperly fitting back packs we recommend the following the American Chiropractic Associations (ACA) guidelines for backpack safety;


  1. Make sure your child's backpack weighs no more than 5 to 10 percent of his or her body weight. ( 4-8 lbs for an 80 lb child ) 

  2. The backpack should never hang more than four inches below the waistline.

  3. A backpack with individualized compartments helps in positioning the contents most effectively. Heavy items should be close to the back and towards the bottom.

  4. Bigger is not necessarily better. The more room there is in a backpack, the more your child will carry-and the heavier the backpack will be

  5. Urge your child to wear both shoulder straps snug to the shoulder and to use the waist belt when carrying a backpack more then a few blocks. 

  6. If the backpack is still too heavy, talk to your child's teacher. Ask if your child could leave the heaviest books at school, and bring home only lighter hand-out materials or workbooks.

  7. Avoid roller-packs unless students are physically unable to carry a backpack

The ACA endorses a few backpacks for proper ergonomic fit for children as well as adults.



This article from the Huffington Post sums up what improperly fitting and overly heavy backpacks can do to a child's back.