Backpacks are probably one of the most overlooked school items, with style and size often being prioritised over practicality and comfort. In fact, oversized and overfilled backpacks can lead to a long list of health problems such as bad posture, knee injuries, poor blood circulation in the arms and hands, back pain, as well as strain your kids muscles and joints. That’s why it’s important to choose one that’s suitable for your child before they start the new school term. Here’s some tips on choosing the best backpack for your child.
What To Look For
Wide and Padded Shoulder Straps
Narrow straps will dig into your child’s shoulders, so it’s always better to look out for wide straps that have padding and are adjustable for additional comfort.
Padding On The Back
Padding along the back of the bag will be more comfortable for your child and alleviate some of the pressure on their spine and shoulders. It also means any stray sharp objects such as pens and pencils won’t push through the material.
Waist clips are designed to distribute the weight evenly across the body. Not only will this take the strain off certain areas, it will also make the rucksack much easier to carry.
We recommend choosing a bag that is made from a lightweight material such as canvas. This way it doesn’t add too much weight onto the overall load.
Plenty Of Compartments
Having multiple compartments can help distribute the weight around the backpack, rather than everything being crammed into one section, making it sit unevenly on your child’s back.
Other Things To Consider
Avoid Overfilling and Pack Wisely
Research has shown that backpacks weighing more than 10-15% of a child’s body weight can have an adverse effect on their health. If your child has trouble putting on or taking off their backpack or slumps forward or leans back while wearing it, this should be an indicator that something isn’t right. Instead, encourage your children to pack lightly and wisely. For example, pack the heaviest things closest to your child’s back where their body can best support them. Planning out school bags the night before is also a great idea as they can make sure they are only taking the books and equipment needed for the next day. Finally, kids can make use of their lockers throughout the school day, taking out heavy text-books or P.E kits, only getting them when needed.
Use Both Straps
Make sure your child is using both the straps on their backpack. Bags that are simply slung over a shoulder can cause strain on muscles and cause regular discomfort.
A backpack should ideally sit between the base of the neck and the lower back. Even though teens may tell you it doesn’t look cool, straps should rest comfortably on the shoulders, and should be tightened so that the bag doesn’t sag low on their back.