Children at a bus stop

Weighing down: Are book bags too heavy?

It’s back to school time and you’re glancing down the school supplies list:

  • Four binders — one for each subject
  • Three packs of lined paper
  • Notebooks for journals
  • A box of colored pencils
  • 10 No. 2 pencils
  • Black and blue pens

Now — load that all that in a book bag and put it on your 10-year-old. They look like they are going to fall over from the weight, and the school books aren’t even in the bag yet.

Are book bags too heavy for students?

Heavy backpacks can cause pain to a child’s back, neck and shoulders, and it also can contribute to headaches. The heavy backpacks can evolve into back problems as an adult.

So how can we solve this problem?

Book bags shouldn’t weigh any more than 10 percent of a child’s weight and it shouldn’t change the child’s posture.

Here are some back-protecting tips for kids of all sizes:

  1. Use rolling backpacks.
  2. Choose backpacks ending above the waist, with padded shoulder straps and a belt.
  3. Wear backpacks on both shoulders.
  4. Pull the shoulder straps snug.
  5. Place heavier books closest to the back.
  6. Bend your knees when lifting the backpack.
  7. Get a second set of schoolbooks to keep at home.
  8. Carry only what's necessary each day.