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7 Tips for Selecting the Most Ergonomic Backpack for Your Grade-Schooler (and How to Wear It Safely)

7 Tips for Selecting the Most Ergonomic Backpack for Your Grade-SchoolerSummer is winding down and that means it’s time for the kids to head back to school. Are you relieved? It’s okay to admit it. It’s been a long summer.

Before we can unleash our children into the capable hands (and onto the nerves) of their new teachers, we must first prepare them for the year ahead. This means a little school supply shopping. My son is entering kindergarten which means I’m a back-to-school shopping novice. I’m still collecting the basics — pencils, crayons, paper, scissors — but I am most excited about helping him pick out his very first big kid backpack.

We’ve been doing a little online browsing together and I was surprised to learn that selecting the perfect bag involves a lot more than finding the right color to match his new sneakers. It needs to be ergonomic as well. Turns out lots of children injure their backs, neck, and shoulders every year from wearing ill-fitting backpacks incorrectly.

Here are a few backpack safety tips for your grade-schooler:

  • Tighten those straps 1 of 7
    Tighten those straps
    According to the American Physical Therapy Association your child's backpack should not hang below the waist or rest on their lower back or hips. Instead, they should wear it close to their body.
  • Buy lightweight material 2 of 7
    Buy lightweight material
    Sure those leather bags look trendy, but they add to the load your child is carrying. Instead opt for a durable, but lightweight fabric.
  • Make use of all compartments 3 of 7
    Make use of all compartments
    Most bags come with many pockets and compartments. Using them all will distribute the weight of the backpack evenly ensuring strain isn't placed on one area of the body.
  • Select a backpack with wide, padded straps 4 of 7
    Select a backpack with wide, padded straps
    Selecting a bag that has wider straps with a little cushion will prevent them from digging into your child's shoulders and ultimately make the bag more comfortable to wear.
  • Encourage your child to use lockers 5 of 7
    Encourage your child to use lockers
    If your child's school provides lockers, make sure they put them to good use. Storing textbooks until they are needed will lighten their load throughout the day.
  • Buy a backpack with a sternum or waist strap 6 of 7
    Buy a backpack with a sternum or waist strap
    These straps evenly distribute the weight and will help your child's backpack stay in place.
  • Lighten the load 7 of 7
    Lighten the load
    According to the American Physical Therapy Association, the weight of a child's bag should not exceed 10-15% of their body weight. It's a good idea to pick up your child's backpack regularly to test how heavy it is.


Photo credit: iStock

Read more from Amber on The Daily Doty and Babble’s Strollerderby.

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