Back-to-School: Backpack Health

| 2 min read

Mother making school lunch to her children.
Back-to-school season means new responsibilities for students, and more than likely, an over-stuffed backpack.
What many parents may not realize is that a too-heavy backpack can lead to serious back, shoulder, and neck pain.
To alleviate these issues for your child, the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons recommends that children shouldn’t carry a backpack that exceeds 15 -20% of their body weight. With 15% as the conservative target, here’s a breakdown by body weight for how much a child should be carrying around in a backpack:
Child’s Weight vs. Backpack Weight:
  • 50 pounds = 7.5 pounds
  • 75 pounds = 11.25 pounds
  • 100 pounds = 15 pounds
  • 125 pounds = 18.75 pounds
  • 150 pounds = 22.5 pounds
Try these tips to lighten your child’s load:
  • Have your child evaluate what they truly need to bring home each day.
  • Check-in with teachers to see what resources can be utilized electronically. You can also ask if there are books that aren’t needed every day, so they can be stored at home.
  • Use all of the pockets! Dispersing the weight around a bag makes a huge difference on a child’s back and shoulders.
  • Encourage your child to use both backpack straps to even out the stress put on the shoulders and back.
Read more about children’s health:
Photo credit: Getty Images

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