SSM Health: How to properly fit your child’s backpack

MADISON, Wis. — Have you ever noticed a child struggling with a heavy backpack? Odds are that backpack was too big, which could lead to pain, injuries, or even disruption to proper posture. If you’re questioning how to be sure your child has the right type of backpack, SSM Health Nurse Practitioner Jim Plasky offers up a general rule of thumb.

“The recommendation would be that a backpack, in general the entire weight, is less than 10 percent of the child’s weight, says Plasky. “So whether or not that is adjusting on what books or how much is going back and forth to school, the goal would be to maintain a weight less than 10 percent to not put added stress on the back.”

To properly fit the backpack, Plasky says to make sure that it’s not wider than the child’s chest. He also says that straps should be padded, and tight enough so that the backpack does not hang below the child’s waist. Parents are also encouraged to not buy the biggest backpack, as the extra space leads to kids filling them with added unnecessary weight.

Our Time for Kids: Recipe for Health team is asking what you want to hear about. Let us know what health topics you’re interested in, or share your family’s health story with us, online at ssmhealth.com/timeforkids.