Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Chiropractor's Guide to Picking out a Great Backpack

A Chiropractor's Guide to Picking out a Great Backpack - Five Easy Steps

By Niccole O'Dell, B.A., D.C.
Positive Edge Chiropractic

Once again, the back-to-school shopping rush has begun!  Parents are flooding the stores with long lists of supplies that their children need. One of the most important purchases to make for your child is their backpack. A backpack is a critical item, since it is likely the only item that your kid will wear every day. A great backpack will be durable, cool, and promote good posture, while a bad backpack will cause your kids to slump and suffer from back pain.  Here are five great tips to picking out a winning backpack!

1.  Do not get a backpack that is too big (with too many pockets). If the backpack has too many pockets, then your child will be tempted to overload it with all of their school books, which in most cases can weigh up to fifty pounds! If you get a slightly smaller bag, than the child will have to carry some of those books in their arms which is way better for their posture. If they have a locker, encourage them to use it and only carry the books that they need.

2.  Try to keep that backpack weight to less than 20% of your child's overall weight. For a fifty pound child, that means that they should not be carrying more than 10 pounds on their back. Unfortunately, this is growing more and more difficult as schools assign more books and remove lockers from high school campuses, but encourage your kids to carry extra books in their hands.

3.  Try to get backpacks with thick cushioned straps and belts which attach around the waist. Thick straps help provide more cushioning for your child's shoulders. Also, the snaps in the front allow the weight to be distributed more evenly for the walk home from school.

4.  Beware of backpacks with cartoon characters on them! They often have the thinnest straps and the least ergonomic design. It is preferable to go with a generic backpack because they often have more in the way of comfort and ergonomics, and they are less likely to go out of style in a year!

5.  Rolling backpacks, while in theory a good idea, double-check with your child before you get one of these. They are often seen as "not cool" in the kid world. Also, while using this your child may need to walk slowly and might have a harder time keeping up with a group of kids. Holding the handle with one hand causes the child to walk a bit less efficiently (and certainly less symmetrically). Also, they are not always the most comfortable when worn as a regular backpack. These are, however, excellent for reducing back pain in your kids. Just make sure that they will use it. Remember, the best backpack for your kid, is the one that they will actually use!


  1. “Try to keep that backpack weight to less than 20% of your child's overall weight.” – Indeed. I think parents should take note that if their children put overwhelming stress on their backs due to a full load backpack, they may experience severe back pain. Heavy backpacks can also cause the child to lean forward, which can badly affect their posture. If it helps, I would suggest to make your child use separate bags for items that may contribute so much weight for their bags, or prefer the use of wheels to reduce the strain on your child’s back.

    Tiffani Villagomez

  2. This is one problem that is universal. It is a huge concern for parents and the solution has to partly come from schools in helping reduce the burden that the kids are to carry around. But as far as the parents are concerned, this is a very informative article in how to choose a backpack that is healthy for their kids. I've been to a sports chiropractor before to treat a knee injury in Toronto, and when we got talking about this subject, I recall him bringing up a few points similar to these. Great post.

  3. The post is written in very a good manner and it entails many useful information for me. I appreciated what you have done here if you want more information something like visit back pain denver get more details.