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Before you run out to shop for a new back to school back pack for this upcoming school year, the Occupational Therapists at Patrick Rehab-Wellness Center ask you to take a look at these quick tips to ensure a proper size and fit for your child!

Back Pack Strategies for Parents and Students from the American Occupational Therapy Association:

  • Size: Make sure the height of the backpack extends from approximately 2 inches below the shoulder blades to waist level, or slightly above the waist. The back pack should not fall below the top of your child’s hipbones
  • Shoulder: Backpacks should have well-padded shoulder straps that can be worn on both shoulders so when packed with books, the weight can be evenly balanced by the student. Make sure your child avoids carrying the backpack on one shoulder!
  • Chest and Hip Belts: Backpacks with a chest or hip belt take some strain off sensitive neck and shoulder muscles and improve the student’s balance.
  • Fit: Just as your child will try on clothes and shoes when back to school shopping, experts say it’s important to try on backpacks too and adjust the shoulder straps so the pack fits snugly on the child’s back.
  • Weight: A child’s loaded backpack should be no more than 10% of the student’s body weight. Heavy back packs can cause falls and possibly even spinal damage.  Your 50-pound child should not carry a loaded back pack that weighs more than 5 pounds!
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