An Eye on Those Back to School Backpacks

Aug 09, 2019

Before the book bags and backpacks get heavy there are a few things to consider. The heaviness and position of a backpack matter! It can make or break your posture and health of your spine and shoulders.

We live in a society with excessive smart phone use and too much sitting. We’re looking down in hunched positions all of the time (unless corrected). A heavy or poor backpack placement will only add to this problem.

Wearing a loose backpack that sits near your low back can increase pressure on the shoulders, strain your back, and may also force you to lean forward with rounded shoulders which can continue to create further problems. You and/or your child should avoid wearing the backpack on one shoulder as this could contribute to further imbalances and injuries. The backpack should also never be loose enough to sway side to side as you walk.

The perfect fit:

  • The width of the pack should be no wider than the torso
  • The length of the pack should sit within 2 inches below the shoulders and 2 inches above the hips
  • Always use both shoulder straps
  • The straps should be tight enough so the backpack does not sway from side to side
  • Use additional waist or chest straps if available to distribute the weight
  • Children should not carry more than 10%-20% of their body weight in the backpack (American Academy of Pediatrics)

  • Posture matters too!

  • Stand tall like a string is pulling your spine towards the ceiling
  • Shoulders down and pushed back and rotated where palms can easily face forward
  • Chin tucked straight back so ears are in line with shoulders
  • Slight tension in core
  • Soft bend in the knees
  • Weight distributed in feet evenly

  • You can reduce you and your child’s risk of spine and shoulder pain by wearing the backpack correctly and focusing on improved posture. Be sure to take the time needed to make sure the backpack fits appropriately. Only carry what is necessary and needed without overloading it.