The Truth About Backpacks & Back Pain

Heavy backpacks are clearly linked to back pain in growing children if used improperly. Backpacks do not cause any type of structural scoliosis nor do they contribute to the progression of a scoliosis. But, they can cause stress fractures in some cases. Read more FAQs on Back Pain in Children.

Tips on Backpacks for Children

Here are a few tips for your children to wear backpacks properly:

How much should my child's backpack weigh?

A child or adolescent's backpack should not exceed 15% of their bodyweight. Example: If your child is 100 lbs., then the backpack should not exceed more than 15 lbs. If you see your child excessively arching his or her back or leaning forward, the backpack is likely too heavy.
 

How should my child carry their backpack?

Your child should use both shoulder straps. Keep straps even so that the backpack rests evenly. The pack should rest in the contour (lordosis) of your child's lower back and not sag below their buttocks.
 

How should my child lift their backpack?

As in any proper lifting mechanics, keep the backpack close to the body. Teach your child to bend down to pick up the backpack at their knees rather than at their hips or waist. Show them to first lift the backpack to their waist level, and then place it across the shoulders.
 

How do I ensure the backpack is a good fit?

Ensure that the shoulder straps of the backpack are padded - this will help distribute the weight. Also try to find a backpack with a waist strap. If the backpack is resting far away from the body, the waist strap will help bring the backpack closer which causes less stress on the back.

Contact Children's Ortho

If your child is experiencing back pain, contact Children's Ortho of Atlanta today to schedule an appointment. We're dedicated to your child's ongoing health.

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