Child Backpack Safety: How much backpack weight can your child carry?

Image from

Image from

This morning my daughter and I had another long, winding discussion about her backpack.  She stubbornly refused to use her stroller bag and insisted on her backpack.  Why did I ever agree for her to start using one?!?

Her backpack is 14 pounds heavy!  I am already seeing her at 30 with serious back problems.  Feeling frustrated and guilty of my constant nagging on the monster I created (it wouldn't have been a problem if I didn't let her start using one!),  I did my research.

According to, "most doctors and physical therapists recommend that kids carry no more than 10% to 15% of their body weight in their packs."  Well, what do you know,  her backpack is within range of her body weight! Wasted tears:(

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons even has a heavier range at 15-20% of body weight.

Of course,  you would always want to stay on the lower range to be on the safe side.  Here are some other tips to backpack safety for our kids, according to webMD:

  • Always use both shoulder straps. Slinging the backpack over one shoulder can cause muscle pain in the neck, back, and shoulder.
  • Let kids figure out where it fits most comfortably, but try to tighten the straps so that the pack is close to the body. Still, don't go overboard. The straps should be not so tight that they pull on the shoulders.
  • Backpacks are teeming with pockets, and you should use them all! Distribute the load throughout all the different compartments to even out the weight, and avoid putting all of your child's books in one area so that the backpack becomes top- or bottom-heavy.
  • Remember that your kids' arms work, too. "Just because you have a backpack doesn't mean everything has to go in it."  "They can take one or two books out of their bags and carry them in their arms."

Photo on left is the improper way of carrying a backpack since the straps are loose and the pack is not close to the body which will cause back strain.

Lastly,  make sure the pack itself is not heavy!  I got my daughter a nylon one (it's water resistant) with a fully padded back panel plus wide, padded straps.

Does your child use a stroller bag or backpack?  Hope you can leave a note here.  Thanks!

With you in this Happy Chaos called Parenting,

Screen shot 2013-05-20 at 6.07.03 AM





Speak Your Mind