With school starting soon, we have some helpful hints on choosing backpacks, how to wear them, locker ideas and other helpful tips from Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
Backpacks should fit well on the child’s back and including the contents, should not weigh more than 10 to 15% of your child’s body weight. If your child weighs 100 lbs, the backpack shouldn’t weigh more than 10 to 15lbs. Some schools may be able to provide a 2nd set of books to keep at home so your child is not carrying them back and forth from school to home.
- If your child needs to lean forward to support the weight of his backpack, then it is too heavy.
- Use backpacks with wheels and handles if your child needs to carry more than 15% of his body weight.
Choose a backpack made of light material, such as canvas or nylon.
- Be sure it is the right size for your child.
- Look for wide, padded shoulder straps, a padded back, a waist strap and multiple compartments.
- Buy small pouches for pencils. Send your child with an insulated lunch bag and one that is easy to wipe clean.
Always pack the backpack so that most of its weight rests low on your child’s back near the waist. Pack the heaviest books closest to the body. Your child should:
- Bend his knees to pick up a backpack
- Clean his backpack often to take out things he doesnt need
- Put things in his locker so his backpack is not heavy
- Take only what is needed to school.
Your child should wear the backpack so that it puts weight on the strongest muscles in the body, the back and stomach.
- Your child should wear both straps over his shoulders. Adjust the shoulder straps so the backpack rests in the middle of his back. It should fit close to his body.
- Secure the waist strap to help distribute heavy loads evenly. Pack items in compartments.
- Make sure the bottom of the backpack rests in the curve of the lower back.
- Check the height of the backpack. It should extend from waist level up to about 2 inches below the shoulders.
- The backpack should never be more than 4 inches below the waistline.
Talk to your child about his teachers to make sure there are no problems. For example, if your child is having back problems and has a heavy book, ask if he can have a second book to keep at home.
Ask your child to tell you if he has any of the following in his back, shoulder or neck:
- Numbness (lack of feeling)
- Tingling (itchy or stinging feeling)
Other helpful tips:
Have a setup at home for your child to do their homework that is organized. The work area should have a chair with good support, a calendar, filing system and good lighting. Keep the area neat and clutter free. The Container Store has a Command Center by Elfa that is free standing in which every person in the family has their own area.
The Container Store has almost every size basket imaginable for your desk or locker. The key to lockers is maximizing space. Mini dry erase boards are helpful for quick notes and magnetic accessories/hooks can keep keys or other loose items handy. Locker wallpaper is available to personalize your locker.
If your child eats on-the-go, they have just the container for him. Cereal containers have a compartment for milk, cereal and come with a spoon.
Much of original content from August 2012. Updated 2019. All opinions are my own. Material for article provided by CHOA.