Bulging Backpacks: 10 Ways To Lighten Your Child’s BackpackThe Literacy Site
School children have to carry a heavy load of notebooks, supplies and textbooks, resulting in a bulky backpack that can affect their posture and cause chronic pain. The American Chiropractic Association recommends that a child’s backpack should weigh less than 10 percent of the child’s body weight, so here are some things you can do to lighten the load.
1. Purchase a Lightweight Bag
Some backpacks are quite heavy even when they are empty. Choose a bag made of lightweight, sturdy materials to eliminate some of the weight your child must carry, Spine Health advises. Rolling backpacks are an option at some schools, but the American Chiropractic Association warns that these bags represent a tripping hazard.
2. Select the Correct Size
The appropriate size backpack for your child has much to do with his size. A backpack should not hang more than 4 inches below the waist, and its width should be limited to the width of your child’s torso.
3. Instruct Your Child to Use Both Straps
Kids often think it’s cool to wear their backpacks on one shoulder, but doing so often leads to back pain and poor posture, Kids Health warns. Encourage your child to use both backpack straps and to fasten chest or waist belts to distribute the weight.
4. Make Sure the Straps Fit
Loose straps allow the bag to sag, and kids often tilt forward to compensate. Adjust the straps so that they are snug on the shoulder without being too tight.
5. Remove Extra Items
The weight of paperwork and unnecessary personal goods adds up when packing a backpack. Encourage your child to clean out the backpack each week, removing old assignments and tests.
6. Pack the Bag Properly
Use the backpack’s compartments to store small items and distribute weight across the bag. Place heavy books and binders at the back of the pack, closest to your child’s body, recommends the Huffington Post.
7. Obtain Duplicate Books
Some schools allow students to check out or purchase duplicate textbooks so that they can keep a copy at home and reduce the amount of supplies they must carry. Check whether your school has this option, and offer to split the cost with a neighbor whose child attends the same school.
8. Use Electronic Readers
Some schools offer textbooks that are compatible with tablets and e-readers, so take advantage of this option whenever possible. Ask English teachers whether your child can read assigned novels on an e-reader or computer.
9. Carry Electronics Separately
Older students often must carry laptops or other heavy electronics to class or the library. Place these heavy items in their own bag and use hand straps to keep this weight off the shoulders.
School officials are aware that heavy backpacks are a problem for children. If you feel your child has too much to carry, talk to teachers and administrators about things they can do to reduce the daily load. Teachers often can photocopy book pages or provide links for online assignments, which cuts down on the weight your child must carry.