Tips for Backpack Safety and Health

We know it can be challenging to get your kids to carry a backpack, let alone wear it correctly!  So, here are our tips for backpack safety and a couple of tried-and-true parenting hacks to help with success.

Taking care of your spine is important because it houses your nervous system. Your nervous system controls everything your body does and, because kids are growing, what they do now will affect their health for the rest of their lives! The spine gets out of balance because of physical, chemical, and emotional stress; one of the physical stressors our kids have is carrying a back pack. According to the British Columbia Chiropractic Association, by the time most children are in their teens, 50% will have experienced spine and back related episodes. By the time we’re adults, that can show up as many different health issues.

So here are the basics of backpack safety:

  1. Before high school – no more than 10% of your child’s weight in the bag.
  2. In high school – no more than 15% of your child’s weight in the bag.
  3. Get a pack that has many compartments which helps balance the load.
  4. Make sure the pack is well built, sturdy, and the right size for your child. Bigger is not always better! You should be able to slide your hand between the back pack and your child’s back.
  5. Padded shoulder straps avoid pressure on nerves in shoulders and armpits. ALWAYS wear both straps and adjust them so that the pack fits snugly to the child’s back. 
  6. Use the waist straps because they transfer some of the load onto the hips and help stabilize the load which puts less force on the lower back.
  7. Make sure the pack sits at the right height for your kid. If your pack is too low, you will be leaning forward which puts stress on your upper back.


While these things might not be easy to get your child to do, here are some safety hacks to help ease the burden of the pack:

  1. If they like to wear it on one shoulder, get the sling type that can be worn across the body.
  2. If they carry a gazillion text books home everyday, get them a roller bag. There are tons of cool designs out there.
  3. Cheaper isn’t necessarily better. There are some great brands that have been engineered for spinal care and others that have amazing warranties. So, while it may be more out of pocket now, it will last for more than one year.
  4. Have them pick one they like. If they don’t like it or it’s not comfortable, they won’t wear it, which means the chances of them wearing it correctly are even less.  


While we’re not always able to make sure our kids are making healthy choices, we can make it easier to choose a healthy option. If you have any questions about your child’s spine or back pack, bring them in to see our chiropractors.