Backpack or Back pain for kids

Backpack or Back pain as kids go back to school

School starts again here and packing that backpack with all the stuff they “just can’t live without” plus what their teachers’ need them to have . . . . it can suddenly be heavy bag.

Style is everything

A back pack is always the best style as they distribute the load across the strong back and shoulder muscles. If you can convince them to use a hip strap as well, that’s even better!

Choosing a back pack

  1. Two straps are better than one! One strap can cause neck, shoulder and upper back pain.
  2. Thick, padded straps
  3. Choose the right size –bigger backpacks are a tempting space to fill up so keep it small!!
  4. Wheels are optional – while these can seem a great way to move heavy bags remember that schools often have steps, and these bags can be awkward to lift.
  5. Keep it light – make sure the bag is as light as possible before you put anything into it!
  6. A padded back – this makes it more comfortable and encourages the use of both straps.

Packing the back pack

In 1999 Italian researchers found that 35% of Italian school children carry over 30% of their body weight.

The US Army trains with backpacks of 30% body weight!

The recommendations for kids are 10-15% bodyweight.

Child’s Weight

Backpack Weight


2 –3kg


3.5 – 5kg


4.5 – 6.5kg


5.7 – 8kg


7 – 10.5kg

  • Pack the heaviest objects so they are at the bottom of the back pack and close to the body.
  • Use the pockets! Distribute the load evenly and make sure it won’t shift during movement.
  • Tighten the straps evenly until the bag sits 5 – 10 cm below the waist
  • Clear out the junk regularly!

Danger signs

  • If they lean forward to carry it – it’s too heavy
  • Listen if they complain of pain or discomfort

Got more questions? Book a free 15 minute telephone consultation

Download our guide to supporting kid’s feet

Good, solid foundations make for good backs!

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