The instructions from Kiddo were clear and quite detailed: comfortable, not too big, with side pockets, and (wait for it) leopard print. Yes, this was her response to my question: "What kind of backpack do you want this year?" And to be honest, it's the third year in a row she's requested leopard print.
How about your kids? What have they chosen as their carryalls? Basic, solid color? Perhaps peace signs or Star Wars icons? It is the one thing they will use every day, so, well, yeah, it needs to be one they like but, beyond that, it needs to be one that is healthy for them. I rounded up some backpack info to read before your kids strap them on their backs this school year.
-- How heavy is too heavy? The American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons says the backpack should weigh no more than 15%-20% of your kid's weight. So, a 50-pound second grader should only be carrying 7 to 10 pounds, and a 100-pound ninth grader should carry 20 pounds at most. In the third week of school, weigh your kid's backpack on the bathroom scale and see how much they are carrying.
-- It's not permanent back damage you should be worried about. Doctors say heavy backpacks won't cause scoliosis, but it can cause back and neck pain. The main issue of concern: falling or tripping due to an overloaded backpack, which can mean a broken wrist or leg.
-- Remind your kids to use their lockers and their arms. When your kids get to school, be sure they dump what they don't need until later in their lockers to minizme hours and hours of too-heavy wear. Also, have them carry a few books in their arms.
-- Double it up and make it thick. I'm talking straps. It's cool to wear backpacks with only one strap over a shoulder, but that really puts a strain on your child's back. Two straps with thick padding even out the weight and prevent the straps from digging into her shoulders.
What kind of backpack does your kiddo want this year? Do you ever weigh your kids' backpacks?