Kids these days seem to be lugging around increasingly heavy school backpacks. “I often see kids with a couple of binders and two or three textbooks in their bag,” says Michael O’Brien, sports medicine physician at Children’s Hospital Boston. And having the wrong size backpack and using it incorrectly can lead to back pain and other problems in kids.
Dr. O’Brien forsees e-readers such as Kindle eventually alleviating some of this weight.
Until then, here’s what parents need to know to make sure their child has the right type of backpack and is using it correctly to prevent back problems.
Tips for Buying Backpacks for School
Buy bags with wide straps. When buying a backpack, make sure the shoulder straps are wide and padded to help prevent shoulder pain. Also look for a padded back panel, to prevent sharp books from poking into your child’s back.
Avoid full-sized backpacks. The problem with adult-sized backpacks is that they allow room for too many things, which can result in a backpack that’s too heavy for a school-age child.
Check with your school before getting a rolling backpack. Many schools have banned these types of bags because they don’t store as well in lockers and are often kept in the hallway, where they can be tripped over, says Dr. O’Brien. Then there’s the fact that many kids simply don’t like these types of styles and don’t want to use them because it may make them stand out from the rest of the kids.