Backpack Safety

How to choose the right backpack for your child

  • The backpack should fit between the top of your child’s shoulders and lower back.
  • Wide, padded straps help distribute the weight of the backpack more broadly across the shoulders and chest.
  • Adjustable shoulder straps ensure that the backpack can be worn snugly against the child’s body. There should not be a gap between the backpack and your child’s body.
  • A backpack that has chest straps and a hip belt (especially for older students) helps to distribute the weight of heavy textbooks across the whole body.
  • Smaller compartments help to distribute the weight inside the backpack.

Remember to put an emergency contact card in your child’s backpack

How to wear a backpack correctly

  • The backpack should be worn with straps tight on both shoulders so that the bag stays close to the body.
  • Ensure the bag does not hang more than two inches below the waistline.
  • Monitor the weight of the backpack so it doesn’t get too heavy.
  • Encourage your child to only carry necessary items in the backpack.
  • If necessary, ask the child’s teacher for extra copies of heavy textbooks to be kept at home.

Warning signs of improper backpack use

If your child experiences any of these common side effects of improper backpack use, it may signal time to lighten the load or change your child’s backpack.

  • Pain in the back, neck, shoulders or knees
  • Headaches
  • Red marks on the shoulders from backpack straps
  • Tingling or numbness in the arms
  • Difficulty getting the backpack on or off
  • Forward posture when wearing the backpack
  • Poor posture when not wearing the backpack