Tips for a school backpack

It is that time of the year post holidays where the children are returning school and it’s time to think about school supplies. We would like to shed some light on one of the most pertinent school supplies: backpack. Do you know what to look for in a backpack for your child? Do you know the maximum safe weight limit is for your child to carry?

What should I look for in a good backpack?

1. Weight of the backpack – lighter the better

Research has shown a backpack should not be more than 15% of your child’s body weight. If a child is carrying more than 15% of the body weight, the child would have to compensate for the weight by either arching their back or bending forward. In addition to fatigue and physical stress, the compensation pattern could lead to poor posture and consequently musculoskeletal issues.

2. Broad shoulder straps with decent support and padding

Decent shoulder straps with broad contact on the shoulders reduce the likelihood of straps digging into the skin. They also help to alleviate the weight of the backpack by distributing the weight more evenly across a broader surface area.

3. Waist and chest straps/belts are good options

Waist and chest belts help to alleviate the stress placed on the shoulders. Ensure waist belt is properly adjusted to just above pelvis to optimise support.

How a backpack should fit?

  1. No larger than your child’s back
  2. Top of the backpack sitting ~2cm below their shoulders
  3. Bottom of the backpack is at the pelvis level
  4. Equal length in straps
  5. Good surface contact between your child’s back and the backpack

While wearing the backpack with only one strap or riding it low on the buttock may be “cool,” this could lead to shoulder strain or lower back pain.

If your child is complaining of shoulder or back pain, or if you notice a poor posture, please contact us on 8555 4099 or book online for an appointment with one of our InnerStrength of Bayside physiotherapists.

Written by Michelle Lin, Physiotherapist