It’s that time of year again – the back-to-school season is here! As students head back to the classroom, one item on their checklist is essential: the backpack. While it may seem like a simple accessory, choosing the right backpack can make a big difference in a student’s daily routine and overall comfort. Here are some tips for making the best choice.

  1. Choose wisely: When selecting a backpack for your child, proper ergonomics and functionality are key components to consider.
      • Wide, padded and adjustable shoulder straps – distribute the weight evenly and reduce strain on the shoulder and back
      • Back padding – provides comfort and support, especially when carrying heavier load.
      • Chest and waist straps – to help distribute the weight evenly and present strain on the child’s back.
      • Pick a backpack made form lightweight material. Leather is heavier than nylon.

2. Proper fit is crucial: Ensure that the backpack fits your child properly. It should rest snuggly against their back, with the bottom of the backpack sitting just above the waistline. Adjustable straps can help customize the fit.

3. Weight management: High schoolers may require larger backpacks to accommodate heavier textbooks, while younger student can opt for smaller sizes. The capacity of the backpack should be suitable for carrying school supplies, books, and personal items without overloading the child.

Overloaded backpacks can lead to stiff necks, sore shoulders and aching backs in children. But there are some simple ways you can help your child prevent these pains.

Parents are often surprised how much their child’s backpack actually weighs. As a general rule, a full backpack should weigh no more than 10-20 percent of your child’s weight.
Here’s a way to calculate the maximum amount of weight your child should tote: Child’s weight x .15 = max backpack weight.
For example:
A 50-pound child should carry a maximum of 7.5 pounds.
A 100-pound child should carry a maximum of 15 pounds.
A 150-pound child should carry a maximum of 22.5 pounds.

4. Encourage proper use: Educate your child about the importance of maintaining good posture while carrying their backpack. Slouching or leaning forward can exacerbate the strain on their spine.

    • Carry the pack on both shoulders to spread the weight evenly. Wearing a backpack slung over one shoulder can strain the neck and back, leading to musculoskeletal issues over time
    • Tighten straps so the bag rests about 2 inches above the waist
    • Bend both knees instead of leaning over when lifting a heavy bag
      If a child is given a locker at school, encourage them to use it
    • Organize smartly. Teach your child to pack the heaviest items closest to their back and to use compartments to distribute weight evenly and to minimize additional strain. This also helps to maintain proper balance.
    • Take breaks. If your child has a long day at school, encourage them to take short breaks to remove the backpack and stretch their shoulders, neck and back.

5. Seek professional advice: If you child complains of persistent back or neck pain, consult with one of our Chiropractors at Mint. Early intervention can prevent more serious issues down the road.

As students and parents prepare to embark on another school year, selecting the right backpack can make a big difference in your child’s school experience. Choose one that balances functionality, comfort and style while staying within your budget. By considering the above factors and involving your child in the decision-making process, you can ensure they start the school year off on the right foot!


Dr. Giselle Chamberlain