The Joint Ventures' Blog

Backpack Safety

Friday, September 04, 2015

Back to school means it is time to talk about backpack safety! Every year thousands of children are injured by not using backpacks properly. Improper use can create abnormal stress on the body resulting in back, neck and shoulder pain and lead to symptoms such as muscle spasms, headaches and can even set the stage for chronic conditions like arthritis.

Proper Fitting:

1. Backpacks for everyday use should be limited to 10-15% of your body weight.

2. Backpacks should never hang more than 4 inches below the waistline.

3. When packing make sure bulky/pointy objects are not pressing into your back. Pack heavier items towards the center and bottom of the bag.


4. Shoulder straps should be padded and 2” wide. Wear both of them and fit them tightly to your body. This distributes weight evenly and decreases stress and friction to the front of your shoulders. A chest strap will prevent slouching.

5. Don’t over load! Leave unneeded items at home. Do you need that book for class? Think about what can be left behind at school or work.

6. Use a separate bag for after school activities to avoid carrying it around all day.

Ideal Posture:

When viewed from the side, your child’s ear should be centered over the shoulder and the shoulder over the hips.

When viewing from the back look at their hips and shoulders and make sure they are level.

Carry too much weight will force them to bend forward at the hips and to lean their head forward to counterbalance the weight. This creates abnormal stress on the spine and supporting muscles.

It is important to be aware of your child’s daily burden because it could be detracting from their school experience.  If they complain of back pain, headaches, numbness or weakness in their arms seek help to ease their discomfort and prevent future problems.

For more information or questions about properly fitting a backpack, please stop by the Kendall Square office or email me at

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