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  • Dr. Thomas Burge

Tips for Backpack Safety - Part 2

In continuation to the proceeding Blog on backpack safety the following are guidelines for reducing spinal stress caused by book bags are as follows:


Selecting a back pack:

  • Choose one that's appropriate to the child's size and age, school backpacks come in different sizes for different ages.

  • Select a pack with well-padded shoulder straps. The shoulders and neck are rich in blood vessels and nerves that when constricted can cause pain and tingling in the neck, arms, and hands.

  • When shopping for a school back pack, take along books and other materials that the child would carry to judge how each pack varies when fully loaded.

Loading a pack:

  • Never allow a child to carry more than 15% of his or her body weight. That means a child who weighs 100 pounds should not carry a school backpack that weighs more than 15 pounds.

  • Load heaviest items closest to the child's back.

  • Pack items neatly and organized to keep books and materials from sliding around in the pack, shifting the weight. Students should clean out the bag once a week and make frequent trips between classes to replace needed materials.

Lifting a pack:

  • Face the backpack, bend at the knees, lift the backpack with the legs and apply one shoulder strap and then the other.

Wearing a pack:

Always wear both shoulder straps to distribute weight evenly. Wearing a pack slung over one shoulder can cause a person to lean to one side and curve the spine.

  • Adjust the shoulder straps so that the pack fits snugly to the child's back. A pack that hangs loosely from the back can pull the child backwards and strain muscles between the shoulders.

  • The bottom of the pack should rest in the curve of the lower back. It should never rest more than four inches below the child's waistline.


Additionally it is recommended that children participate in a regular exercise program to maintain strong and flexible back and core muscles.


If you have any concerns about back complaints from your child contact your chiropractor today to schedule a chiropractic spinal check up. Prevention of an incorrectly carried backpack will lend to a child's healthy spine for their lifetime.

Resources and Links

Useful resources for more information about backpack safety can be found at the following site:

  • View a special chiropractic public service announcement on backpack safety by clicking link at the end of this paragraph. Please give the video a few moments to download. More chiropractic public service announcements video clips can be found by clicking here.

  • Interested in learning more about childhood health issues and backpacks and the concerns by the chiropractic profession can be found at this site. www.chiro.org

  • The International Chiropractic Pediatric Association also has numerous resources on the topic of backpack safety. You may read more here at www.icpa4kids.org

  • The world’s first comprehensive response to the need for backpack safety on the internet may be found at www.backpacksafe.com. Offering ready to use programs ideal for parents, students, and teachers.