1. The most obvious recommendation is to minimize the items in the backpack. If it really doesn't have to go to school, then don't include it. Make it a habit to clear out the backpack in the evenings of extraneous items before packing it for the next day.
2. Wherever possible, have two sets of resources or supplies, i.e. schoolbooks. Keep one at school and one at home in order to minimize transferring these items.
3. To limit taxing the back muscles, keep the heavier books towards the back of the pack. This approach distributes the weight along the strongest part of the back that can best support backpack weight.
4. Limit the weight of the backpack to less than 15% of the child's weight. So if your child weights 100 pounds, then the backpack weight should be limited to 15 pounds maximum. This can really be a challenge for most kids. If this just does not seem feasible, then seriously consider going with a rolling backpack.
5. When purchasing a backpack, choose double-strapped selections that provide better spinal alignment.
6. Always choose backpacks that have straps with extra padding. Not only are they more comfortable but they also prevent the straps from digging into the shoulders.
7. Additional straps at the chest and hips are beneficial because they limit back pressure by distributing the weight of the backpack more evenly. Additionally, they tend to be more comfortable. If your child has a walk of more than one-half mile, these additional straps will make a big difference in your child's schlepping power!
8. Make sure that the backpack straps adjust easily. Your child should be able to adjust them easily in order to make the backpack more comfortable to wear. If your child is very young, practice at home until they easily get the hang of it.
9. Guide your child to wear their backpack in the middle and lower areas of their back where back muscles are strongest. Avoid misplacing the backpack too low on the lumbar region, which could cause poor posture leaving your child vulnerable to injury.
10. Select a rolling backpack where feasible. Not only can you tote more, but you can preserve your back! Of course, if you child has to carry their backpack more than 10% of the time, rides their bike, skateboard or scooter to school, then go with the non-rolling option.
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