Backpack Safety tips for Back to School!

Summer break is wrapping up, and our kids are getting ready to head back to school. If you’re shopping for a new backpack for the year ahead, now is the perfect time to start thinking about backpack safety and how kids’ spines can be negatively affected by what they carry on their backs each day.

A heavy backpack can have a negative impact on the posture and spinal health of children.

The American Academy of Orthopedists stated that:

58% have seen patients complaining about back or shoulder pain related to backpacks.

Medical professionals advise that individuals carry no more than 10-15% of their body weight on their backs.

Many children, teens and adults are carrying up to 40lbs and are potentially injuring themselves.

So what can you do to ensure that your kids backpacks don’t weigh them down this year?

Ways to Prevent a Backpack Injury

Step 1: Choose the right Backpack

Choosing the right size backpack is the most important step to safe backpack use.

  • Choose a backpack with thickly padded shoulder straps – Non-padded straps dig into the shoulders causing pain due to compression loading of the acromio-clavicular joints and stress on the trapezius muscles.
  • Choose a backpack with a lumbar support – The lumbar cushion will redistribute weight to the lower extremities, creating a fulcrum that facilitates an upright standing position and good posture that is essential for proper spinal health

backpacks in store

Step 2: Pack your backpack right

  • The maximum weight of the loaded backpack should not exceed 15 % of your body weight, so pack only what is needed.
  • Distribute the weight properly – Put the heavier items on the bottom and against the back to keep the weight off of your shoulders and maintain a better posture

packing a backpack for school

Step 3: Lift it right

  • Face the Pack -Bend at the Knees – Use both hands and check the weight of the pack.  Lift with the legs – Apply one shoulder strap and then the other.  Keep the pack close to the body. Carry only what you need.

lift a backpack properly

Step 4: Wear it right

  • Use both shoulder straps – snug, but not too tight.
  • Carrying a heavy backpack using one strap can shift the weight to one side, which can lead to neck and muscle spasms, low back pain and abnormal gait.

wear a well fitting backpack

Gearing up to go back to school? Click here to read 6 Steps That Will Make Your Kids More Productive

If you have any questions regarding posture or children’s spinal health, please contact our office to schedule your visit by calling (905) 878-2333 or email us at


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