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  • Writer's pictureDr. Maya Pande

What's the Best Backpack for Your Child?

What are the best options for back packs for kids who are going back to school?

What kind of backpack should I buy? Get one that is made of a lightweight material, like canvas or vinyl, with two wide shoulder straps. You want one that has a lot of side pockets so items can be stowed away more evenly. Waist or hip straps are great as they can help support the weight of the pack. Remember the size of the knapsack needs to be proportionate to the size of the wearer!

How do I pack a backpack? Did you know that most doctors think that a child's backpack should weigh only 10-15% of their body weight? A 100 lb kid's bag should only weigh 10-12 lbs. Most kids wear one that is much too heavy for their bodies, especially in high school. In fact, I’m sure that you’ve needed two hands to pick up your child's bag sometimes! To decrease the load, pack only what they need for that day. Pack the flatter, heavier items closer to the body and store the oddly shaped/bulky things on the top or in those pockets we talked about earlier.

What's the best way to put a knapsack on? Put the bag on, one shoulder strap at a time, and then adjust the straps so they fit comfortably. It shouldn't be too low on their body. The pack should fit snugly against their back but allow for you to slide your hand between them. The days that the pack is heavier (because it will happen), the waist straps can increase stability. Of course, waist straps aren't cool (for that matter, wearing a backpack properly isn't cool either. As a parent, you can only try your best).

Keep in mind that regularly wearing a backpack over just one shoulder or carrying an unevenly distributed heavy load daily, can cause poor posture as well as cause muscle aches, tiredness, headaches or back pain. So take a few minutes to examine your child’s backpack and make sure to pack it light and wear it right!

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