EduKids Early Childhood Education Centers

Backpacks are Back

Posted on: September 12, 2011

It’s official – backpacks are back.  Every day children dress for school and hoist a backpack onto their shoulders.  While they rush to the bus or car, meet friends at the corner or just hurry up the street, they often are carrying close to their own body weight on their backs!
Kate Cronan, M.D. states that children often carry backpacks far too heavy for them! 

Dr. Cronan recommends:                                                                                                                                                          
-Attention to weight; backpacks should never be heavier than a child’s weight (as unbelievable as it is, children often carry backpacks far heavier than they are.) This is dangerous to neck, shoulder and back.                                                                                           
-Spread books and items throughout the backpack.  Using the pockets and side vents will help manage the weight and eliminate the sense of a solid rock in the middle of the back.                                                                      
-Use a backpack with wheels.                                                                                                                                                                      
-Keep anything home or in school that you can – only carry necessities each day.
Young children are excited about carrying a backpack to school.  They spend time picking it out and organizing all of its belongings.  Once the novelty wears off, parents often have to sort out trash from treasures in these school bags.                                                                                                                                         
Older children carry everything from books and lunch to a change of clothes and shoes in their backpacks. They often leave items in their backpacks that could have been removed long ago.                               
High schoolers that I know have 2 bags that are school bags;  a larger “messenger “bag that goes back and forth to school along with a smaller shoulder tote bag to carry books and papers in school between classes.  With an extra gym bag and lunch bag, these kids have really learned how to manage the backpack school issue!
All of this is heavy.  Children’s bodies have to adjust to the added weight of a backpack after a summer of bathing suits and shorts when often the heaviest thing they carried around was a sweatshirt.
Some other ideas to help with the backpack your child is using:                                                           
-Adjust the straps for young children; backpacks should rest close and high on the back.                               
-Remember that fall and winter clothing under the backpack straps will also require adjustments.                                                          
-At any age, children should never carry anything sharp in their backpack.                                                                      
-Keep food in containers – empty a young child’s backpack every night.                                                            
-Bus riders have to make room for their backpacks on their laps or on the floor.  Practice with young children.  For safety, a young child’s initials or first name only should be on their backpack.                                                                                                                                                         
-Be sure older children are not carrying large amounts of money or valuable personal items in backpacks.
Uniform – check   
school shoes – check
lunchbox – check   
class supplies – check                                                                          
suitcase; I mean backpack – check, very funny mom”                                                                                         
S.S.& parent at school start


2 Responses to "Backpacks are Back"

Most children love stuffing their backpacks with books. This is a great article!!

Thanks! It’s so fun watching our children “read” their favorite books!

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