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Backpack Safety Matters for Kids

schoolgirl packing backpack and preparing for school, elementary school student concept

Backpack Safety Tips to Protect Your Child This Back to School Season

Back to school is an exciting time for you and your kids. It’s also one of the most important times to think about safety, especially when it comes to choosing the right backpack. The style and weight of a backpack, as well as how it’s packed and worn, are key components of back to school safety.

Why backpack safety is important

The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that heavy or improperly-worn backpacks cause over 14,000 injuries annually, with close to half of those injuries resulting in a trip to the emergency room.

Muscle strains are one of the most common injuries related to backpacks, explains Dr. Charles Shubin, Director of Pediatrics at Mercy FamilyCare and Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Maryland, Baltimore. These injuries can cause pain and inflammation for your children, or even more serious injuries. Dr. Shubin recommends that a backpack weigh no more than 10% to 15% of your child’s body weight.

In addition, wearing heavy backpacks over one shoulder can lead to spine curvature and pain for your child over time, explains the American Occupational Therapy Association.

To help prevent backpack-related injuries for your child. You and your child should keep these three things in mind when choosing and wearing a backpack:

  1. Choose the right backpack
  2. Avoid over-packing and unequal weight distribution
  3. Wear the backpack properly

Read on to learn how you help your child reduce the risk of backpack-related injuries this school year with proper backpack safety.

How to choose the right backpack

Backpack safety starts with choosing the best backpack for your child. There are many styles and sizes available, so it’s important to know what to look for. Here are some criteria for in a safe backpack:

You can find many backpacks online or at your local retail stores that fit the criteria for a safe, comfortable fit. Here are five popular backpacks, available in a variety of colors, that can help reduce the risk of injury when packed and worn properly.

5 lightweight backpacks designed for comfort and support

JanSport Superbreak Backpackjansport-backpack-back-view

Specifications and features:

Learn more




Herschel Supply Co. Heritage Youth


Specifications and features:

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Dakine® 365 Backpackdakine-backpack-backdakine-backpack-front

Specifications and features:

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North Face Recon Squash Youth Backpack


Specifications and features:

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High Sierra Curve Backpack


Specifications and features:

Learn more

Backpack styles to avoid

While shopping for a backpack, your child may come across trendy backpacks and prefer those over a safe, conventional style pack. It’s important to remember that book bags, like many products designed for style are not always designed for safety. Here are some bags you may want to avoid when shopping for the best backpack for your child:

Choosing the right backpack, and avoiding potentially unsafe ones, is the first step to backpack safety. The next is making sure to pack the bag properly and avoid overloading it.

Backpack safety tips for kids and parents

While you want to send your child off to school as prepared as possible, keep in mind that the backpack’s weight can add up quickly. Dr. Barbara Bergin, Orthopedic Surgeon at Texas Orthopedics, Sports and Rehabilitation, offers these expert tips to keep backpack weight in check:




Author: David helps provide consumers with reliable information about outdoor safety, technology and more. He is a regular news contributor at