Have you purchased a backpack for school yet? Here are three things to consider when choosing a pack for your child.

I see so many students with a backpack made for adults on their back.  They keep stuffing more and more into them.  The important papers in their backs get lost in the sea of crumpled paper at the bottom.

As the crumpled paper mess increases, so does the weight of the pack.

Before you pick out a backpack

for your student, here are some things to consider.

  • How wide is the pack?

For optimum comfort and reduced backpack pain, choose a pack that is no wider than the student’s shoulders.

With your child standing with a straight back, use a tape measure and measure the distance from shoulder to shoulder.

Fred puppet measuring shoulder to shoulder
In lieu of a small child, I am measuring a puppet. His width is approximately 9-inches from shoulder to shoulder.

Your child’s pack should be an inch or two smaller than this measurement for optimum comfort.

  • How long should the pack be?

Find the triangular bone on the backside of the shoulder.  Follow bone’s edge to the point closest to the top of the shoulder.

Measure from that point to their waist with a tape measure.

Your student’s backpack should be no longer than this measurement.

Fred puppet measuring height of back
Here, I am measuring the back of the neck to the waist. (on the puppet.)

Now that you have the height and width, what else should you consider?

  • Be sure that the pack has a chest and hip strap. Use them!

Many backpacks today come equipped with these features.  I see so many kids coming off the bus and these buckles are not fastened. I must confess that I have been guilty of not encouraging my child to use them when the bus was waiting, and you are struggling to don those shoes.

Discourage this…

Discourage your students from leaving home or the classroom with the pack over one shoulder. As the year goes on and the backpack grows heavier, improper use can cause other problems. More information on associated problems coming in next week’s blog.

positions to avoid with backpacks