Backpacks Hurting Backs – Back to School

Pens, highlighters, sticky notes, books and computers. All of these things are stuffed into backpacks on a daily basis and could be creating long term damage for kids’ backs.


It is recommended that kids carry no more than 10-15% of their body weight in their backpacks. Heavy backpacks can be bad for growing muscles and bones and even lead to severe back and neck pain.

Although it’s obvious that you should encourage your children to only put in their backpack what they need, sometimes what they need is still too much. The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center offers the following backpack safety tips:

  1. Start with a lightweight backpack.

  2. Make sure the shoulder straps are wide and padded and include a waist strap.

  3. Multiple compartments are a plus.

  4. Both straps should be worn at all times.

  5. Do not overload!

It may sound easy and a bit simplistic, but these tips are extremely important, especially when preparing to go back to school.

If your child’s teacher gives them several books to keep, make sure you know when and if they’ll need certain books. Ask the teacher to remind them and have that information with their homework everyday. That way, your son or daughter’s backpack won’t be completely full at all times.

While it may be a necessity, remember that a lunch box does not have to be stored in the backpack as well. This may also lighten the load.

Traci Byrd