Backpacks and School Bags

Millions of children carry backpacks to school, and more than half carry too much weight, resulting in neck, shoulder, and back pain — negatively affecting their spine and posture, breathing, and resulting in fatigue. The American Occupational Therapy Association recommends that your child carry no more than 15% of his or her body weight (or less if your child has any issues with low muscle tone or strength, respiratory issues, etc.). Talk to the school about reducing backpack weights. A good place to start is by downloading the informational pdf from AOTA: Backpack Strategies for Parents and Students.

Look for lightweight versions of recommended school supplies; keep a set of duplicate textbooks at home; clarify assignments so that your child doesn’t take home all of his texts when he just needs one. Try one of the rolling backpacks, but keep in mind that your child will probably need to hoist it onto the school bus and up and down staircases.