If your child totes a full load of books, homework and sports equipment, an assessment of his or her backpack habits may be in order. To avoid back injury, your child should carry no more than 10 percent of his or her body weight, according to a study in the Journal of School Health. Follow these practical suggestions:
- Have your child pack light and carry only what’s needed for that day or for homework.
- Teach your child to evenly distribute the weight in the pack. Use all compartments and pack heavier items closest to the center of the back.
- Avoid using a pack that’s too large. A full pack may be too heavy; if it’s not full, the load inside may shift.
- The backpack should have padded shoulder straps. Be sure your child always uses both straps. Slinging a backpack over one shoulder can strain muscles.