Every year when school starts new backpacks roll out to entice the shopper hidden in each student. So what if he has a perfectly good backpack, worthy of weathering at least a few more years of abuse? Kids might get a new backpack as a talisman of the new year, or as a complement to their changing sense of style – after all, a third grader can hardly cart around a Dora the Explorer bag, can she?
But sturdiness and flexibility might be more important traits in a backpack than stylishness. For more and more kids, the loads their packs have to carry get heavier every year as their homework levels increase.
So what’s a parent to do?
Buy a safer backpack. While they need to be stylish, affordable, and durable, the backpacks should also have the right features to withstand wear and tear while also being worn safely. Here’s some guidance:
Is Your Child’s Backpack Too Heavy? – includes anecdote about student with back pain caused by heavy backpack worn incorrectly
Backpack Safety – from KidsHealth.org. Includes tips about buying the right pack. Interestingly, this article cautions against opting for a pack with wheels:
…they’re extremely difficult to pull up stairs and to roll through snow. Check with the school before buying a rolling pack; many schools don’t allow them because they can pose a tripping hazard in the hallways.
So if your child complains about back or neck pain, the backpack might be the culprit. But don’t guess – call a medical professional for help. We are always here to answer your questions!