Back-to-School: Backpack Health

Kid wearing backpack on bike

Back-to-school season means new responsibilities for students, and more than likely, an over-stuffed backpack.

What many parents may not realize is that a too-heavy backpack can lead to serious back, shoulder, and neck pain.

To alleviate these issues for your child, the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons recommends that children shouldn’t carry a backpack that exceeds 15 to 20 percent of his or her body weight. With 15 percent as the conservative target, here’s a breakdown by body weight for how much your child should be carrying around in his or her backpack:

Child’s Weight vs. Backpack Weight:

  • 50 pounds = 7.5 pounds
  • 75 pounds = 11.25 pounds
  • 100 pounds = 15 pounds
  • 125 pounds = 18.75 pounds
  • 150 pounds = 22.5 pounds

Try these tips to lighten your child’s load:

  • Have your child evaluate what they truly need to bring home each day.
  • Check-in with teachers to see what resources can be utilized electronically. You can also ask if there are books that aren’t needed every day, so they can be stored at home.
  • Use all of the pockets! Dispersing the weight around a bag makes a huge difference on a child’s back and shoulders.
  • Encourage your child to use both backpack straps to even out the stress put on the shoulders and back.

Read more about children’s health:

 

A Healthier Michigan

Our mission is to help everyone in Michigan get healthier from the inside out. This means everything from giving you resources to help you make better decisions about diet and exercise, as well as information on creating and sustaining nurturing communities and successful businesses — everything you need to help create a healthier Michigan.

X