Nothing says it’s time to go back to school than taking your kids shopping for a new backpack. Whether they’re trying to choose between Elsa and Anna, or Kylo Ren vs. Captain America, there is more to picking the best backpack than the color or character gracing it.

Just because your kids seem to have limitless energy, especially right around bedtime, does not mean they can’t get worn down or feel uncomfortable if they do not have the right backpack for their age, strength, and body type.

Doing your research and knowing the type of backpack that fits your child best can go a long way towards giving them a healthy, safe, and focused school year.

Ergonomics Matter

Ergonomic is a fancy term for something designed to be efficient and comfortable. For starters, that means a backpack that is no wider than your child’s torso and that drops no more than 4 inches below their waist. Adjustable shoulder straps with padding will keep the backpack’s weight divided equally on their back and keep the straps from digging into their skin. Straps for your child’s waist and chest can also distribute the weight better, as can multiple compartments, so everything is not crammed into one storage spot. Getting a backpack made of reflective material can add to the backpack’s visibility, particularly on those early mornings when kids might be walking or riding to school before the sun comes up.

Smart Packing

Most kids might not think so at first, but there definitely is an art to filling your backpack correctly. The heaviest items need to go in first and as close to the bottom as possible. This allows them to lift that weight with their lower backs. If there are lots of compartments, encourage them to use them to ensure not all the weight is concentrated in one area. On the flip side, backpacks with large open spaces often inadvertently invite kids to stuff everything in their desk and locker inside to take home. Make sure to remind your child that only the essentials for studying need to come home on a daily basis. The same goes for taking items to school from home. If you’re not using it on a given day, it can wait.

Proper Use

Backpacks don’t usually come with instruction manuals, but there are few key points you might want to educate your kids on to prevent unnecessary strain. The most important is to always wear the backpack with both straps on your back, not just one. Single-strapping might look a lot cooler and be the style of the day, but it can also cause muscle pain and posture problems when done for a prolonged time.  Also make sure that everything coming home or headed off to school fits completely inside the backpack. Jamming sports equipment, musical instrument cases, skateboards, or anything else into a backpack where it won’t close all the way will put it off-balance and work against its intended purpose.

Remember as you prepare to send your children back to school that picking a backpack is more than just about the color or the designs. An as nerve-racking as going back to school can be Oklahoma ER & Hospital is here 24/7, 365 to provide compassionate, concierge-level emergency care to all.

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