If backpacks are too heavy and not worn properly, they can be a potential source of back injury.
According to l'Ordre professionnel de la physiothérapie du Québec (OPPQ), 50% of teens aged 13 to 16 years complain of back pain at least once a month in Quebec.
Here are a few important tips to consider:
- Choose a backpack that has a padded back, shoulder straps and buckles in the chest and waist areas.
- Make sure it fits squarely on both shoulders. Do not allow for much movement or the weight to rest on your lower back.
- Adjust and use all straps so that the weight is evenly balanced.
- Avoid flinging it abruptly.
- Avoid wearing it on only one shoulder.
- Place heavier objects in the middle of the bag and close to your body.
- The bag should not exceed more than 10 % of the child’s total body weight.
- Remind children and teens to empty their backpacks regularly, and to remove any items that they don’t really need.
Reviewed by Trauma specialists at the Montreal Children’s Hospital.
Last updated: January 2014, October 2015