Bulging Backpacks: 10 Ways To Lighten Your Child’s Load

School children have to carry a heavy load of notebooks, supplies and textbooks, resulting in a bulky backpack that can affect their posture and cause chronic pain. The American Chiropractic Association recommends that a child’s backpack should weigh less than 10 percent of the child’s body weight, so here are some things you can do to lighten the load.

1. Purchase a Lightweight Bag

Alberto Ziveri / Incase Backpacks, via Flickr

Some backpacks are quite heavy even when they are empty. Choose a bag made of lightweight, sturdy materials to eliminate some of the weight your child must carry, Spine Health advises. Rolling backpacks are an option at some schools, but the American Chiropractic Association warns that these bags represent a tripping hazard.

2. Select the Correct Size


The appropriate size backpack for your child has much to do with his size. A backpack should not hang more than 4 inches below the waist, and its width should be limited to the width of your child’s torso.

3. Instruct Your Child to Use Both Straps


Kids often think it’s cool to wear their backpacks on one shoulder, but doing so often leads to back pain and poor posture, Kids Health warns. Encourage your child to use both backpack straps and to fasten chest or waist belts to distribute the weight.

4. Make Sure the Straps Fit

School Girls via Wikimedia Commons

Loose straps allow the bag to sag, and kids often tilt forward to compensate. Adjust the straps so that they are snug on the shoulder without being too tight.

5. Remove Extra Items


The weight of paperwork and unnecessary personal goods adds up when packing a backpack. Encourage your child to clean out the backpack each week, removing old assignments and tests.

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