Consider Ergonomics When Choosing Children’s Backpacks


heavy backpackIt’s important that the backpack your child carries is not only cool, says the American Academy of Pediatrics, but also ergonomically correct.

** Choose a backpack with wide, padded shoulder straps and a padded back.
** Pack light. Organize the backpack to use all of its compartments. Pack heavier items closest to the center of the back. The backpack should never weigh more than 10 to 20 percent of the student’s body weight.
** Always use both shoulder straps. Slinging a backpack over one shoulder can strain muscles. Wearing a backpack on one shoulder may also increase curvature of the spine.
** Consider a rolling backpack. This type of backpack may be a good choice for students who must tote a heavy load. Remember that rolling backpacks still must be carried up stairs, and they may be difficult to roll in snow.

Here’s a video about how to measure hips and torso for the right backpack size.

Here are some backpack safety tips from the American Society of Orthopaedic Surgeons

And here’s a company that actually sells a toy called Pete the Posture Parrot. I bet kids just can’t wait to get one! :>)

There are many many backpack choices at
and L.L. Bean will custom-design a backpack to your specifications.


7 thoughts on “Consider Ergonomics When Choosing Children’s Backpacks

  • August 8, 2007 at 7:41 am

    Thank you so much for the suggested websites! My daughter starts first grade this year and will have to bring a backpack to school. Now I know how to make the correct choice. She will be carrying a backpack for years to come, so this is of extreme importance!!!

    And, as one who has to visit a chiropracter every few weeks because of a bad back, I want to protect my children’s backs as much as I possible.

    When I was going through physical therapy, I asked my therapist why so many children and teens were at the office. He said that many of them had strained their back and leg muscles from carrying backpack that were too heavy!

    Taking this information to school districts, as well as the media, would be extremely beneficial to our present and future generations! The word needs to get out!!

  • August 8, 2007 at 10:14 am

    That picture is too much! My two older step-kids go to a middle school where they are not allowed lockers. So they spend the whole day (plus after-school programs) dragging books, notepads, supplies, and the various other accoutrements of pre-teen ife around all day. A good backpack is essential, though of course they’d rather have whatever’s cool this year instead. But at the same time, I can’t help but thinking: what are our schools, who are supposed to be looking out for the proper mental and physical development of our society’s children, doing to the poor kids?! Whatever happened to “healthy mind, healthy body” — between forcing 70-pound kids to carry 30-pound packs to loading them up with tater tots and other crap in the lunchrooms to cutting lunch- and recess-breaks to a few minutes, where is the “healthy body” part of their education?

  • August 8, 2007 at 10:23 am

    The issue of wanting to be fashionable is not a small one. But if you look around, you’ll see there are some choices that cover both fashion and ergonomics.

    Don’t get me started on how there ought to be child-size computer keyboards and mice, not to mention computer tables and chair for kids. They usually sit at their parents’ desks, which aren’t even ergonomically correct for an adult, let alone a child.

  • November 14, 2008 at 7:40 am

    ergonomic products are starting to get more exposure now but most people are hesitant to try them because of the higher prices than normal goods. i think that in the near future though things that are ergonomic will be everywhere.

    ergonomic chairs’s last blog post..Price Ranges of Ergonomic Chairs

  • June 16, 2009 at 3:41 am

    Research indicates that many children sit in furniture that does not fit them properly.Children who sit in awkward postures for long durations can experience musculoskeletal symptom that worsen with time. Yet common assumptions about what is ergonomically “proper” for adults may not be appropriate for children.

    Jane@kids lessons’s last blog post..PHYSICS LESSONS FOR KIDS

  • February 9, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    I’m glad that I found your your page.My son will start his school this coming June.Thank you for the good idea that you shared.I will really apply this.More power

  • March 21, 2011 at 11:40 pm

    I agree with you.It is better to buy a rolling bag than a back pack bag.Especially when your kids are in elementary school a lots of book required and it is heavy to the children to carry on their back.

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