Choosing the right backpack for your kids is crucial for a number of reasons, yet the most important reason is for their neck, and, and spine health. Kids are especially vulnerable to feeling the impact of a poorly constructed backpack, or a backpack which is worn incorrectly due to user error. In this post, we’ll be discussing which backpacks are the best choice for your kids, how to wear the backpacks properly to better avoid injury or discomfort, and how long your child should be wearing their backpack.
How to Properly Choose the Right Backpack for Your Kids
Choices, choices, choices. There are so many options to choose from when it comes to backpacks for your kids. While you should definitely involve your kids in the process, you’ll also want to be the one who makes the final decision one which backpack is best for your child. The right backpack should be properly sized, have a molded frame to support the spine, be constructed of lightweight material, possess adequate straps, and have individual compartments to properly distribute weight within the backpack.
A Properly Sized Backpack is Best
Your child may be very tall for their age, very small for their age, or somewhere in between. What’s important is for their backpack to not be overwhelmingly large to the point it throws off their posture, balance, and comfort levels. Finding the right-sized backpack for your kids is as simple as having them try out a few at the store and see which backpack aligns best with their frame and size.
A Molded Frame On the Backpack is Good for Spinal Support
A molded frame insert can help provide proper spinal support and prevent objects within your child’s backpack from poking into their back as well. These backpacks will typically be a bit more expensive, yet it’s certainly worth it when it comes to your child’s comfort and health.
Choosing a Lightweight Material Will Help Alleviate Weight-Induced Strain
When you choose a lightweight material for your child’s backpack, it’s that much less of a strain on their back, neck, spine, and shoulders. Any extra weight reduction can help offset some of the strain a backpack may impose, so why not choose the lightest material possible while still maintaining the backpack’s integrity?
Ensuring the Backpack Has Adjustable Straps
When your child’s backpack has adjustable straps, it will allow you to effectively adjust the straps to fit their frame snugly and securely. This is an important and often underutilized component of many backpacks, yet those waist and sternum straps are there for a reason. They’re there to help secure the weight being held within your child’s backpack and successfully distribute some of the weight burden away from just their back area.
Individualized Compartments to Better Evenly Distribute Weight
When your child’s backpack has individualized compartments for better weight distribution, it’ll allow your child to balance out the weight of their backpack much more evenly. If the backpack doesn’t have individualized compartments, they may run the risk of having multiple heavy items paired next to a much lighter item; ultimately creating a lopsided backpack which could cause discomfort and pain. Be sure to teach your kids to use the individualized compartments to evenly distribute weight and they’ll thank you later for it.
Ensure the Weight of the Backpack is No More than 10% of Your Child’s Body Weight
This is something which should be very much adhered to. You don’t want your child’s backpack to be more than 10% of their body weight due to the fact it could cause them to experience pain, discomfort, or even an injury. The math is quick and easy to do with this equation so it should be easy for you to successfully implement this tip into their backpack wearing routine.
Pack the Heaviest Items Closest to Your Child’s Back
This tip is similar to how you should always lift heavier objects closer to your body so you reduce the risk of injury. The same goes for your child’s backpack. If there’s a heavier item which must be carried within their backpack, you’ll want to remind them to pack it close to where their back would be aligned with the bag. If it’s packed too far away, for instance in the front pocket of the backpack, it may cause excess strain on your child’s back. You and your child will not want this to happen, so play it safe and always pack the heavier items near where your child’s back will be.
Properly Secure the Backpack with the Sternums & Waist Straps
As mentioned above, the straps are there for a reason and should be secured properly to best alleviate some of the weight load within your child’s backpack. Ensuring a comfortable fit cna do a lot of good if your child plans on wearing the backpack on and off on let’s say a hike for example.
Remind Your Child it’s Important to Use BOTH Straps
It’s no longer “cool” to wear one strap on your shoulder. Remind your child of this and let them know they’re not allowed to wear their backpack like that, otherwise it could cause issues later on down the road.
Only Wear the Backpack for 30 Minute Intervals to Reduce Stress On Back
Ensure your child is only wearing their backpack for no more than 30 minutes at a time. Any longer, and your child may end up with pain, discomfort, or injury. Let them know it’s perfectly okay to take the backpack off and rest if they’re feeling tired or strained from wearing it.
Follow These Tips for a Better Backpack Wearing Experience
Extending your support as a parent will help your child stick to these backpack wearing tips. You’ll most likely find your child will actually enjoy these tips once they’re put into practice, as their back, neck, and spine will likely be much less trained and fatigued. Ultimately this will lead to a happier child and we could all use that within our lives as parents, right? Right!
DISCLAIMER: No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.