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Sarah holland

Sarah holland

Tips for fitting your child’s backpack

It’s that time of the year again! We start hunting around for uniforms, buying stationery and writing our children’s names on ALL their things, prepping for the exciting beginning to a new school year. Whether it is their first day of kindergarten or first day of year 12, looking for the right backpack can make a big difference to starting out their year strong.

 

Here we have 3 tips on making sure the fit of their backpacks is correct and what to adjust if needed.

Properly adjusting straps

When fitting a child’s backpack, it is important to ensure that the straps are adjusted properly to fit the child’s body. The backpack should sit comfortably on the child’s shoulders and not sag down their back. The straps should be adjusted so that the backpack is snug and even across both shoulders but not too tight, as this can cause discomfort. This is important because if the backpack is too loose, it will sway side to side and can cause the child to shift their weight and strain their back and shoulders. On the other hand, if the backpack is too tight, it can constrict the child’s movement and cause discomfort. 

Observe the sag here – pulling the straps a little tighter will lift the bag onto the shoulders and off the back.

Weight and distribution of weight

It is also important to take the weight and distribution of this weight into consideration. The weight of a backpack can impose strain on areas of the body and it is recommended that children shouldn’t carry more than 15% of their body weight in a backpack. 


Make sure the straps are adjusted so that the weight of the backpack is distributed evenly across the child’s shoulders and back. It is especially important to avoid carrying heavy items in a backpack to help prevent strain on any one area of the body. A heavily filled or uneven distribution of weight can cause the child to lean to one side or forward, which can lead to back pain and poor posture. Having a backpack with compartments and pockets to keep items organised can prevent overstuffing and allow for even distribution also.


*Ideas to help keep a backpack light – encourage weekly clean out of unnecessary items and keep big items at school where possible.

Right size backpack

The size of the backpack is also important when fitting a child’s backpack. A backpack that is too big or too small can cause strain on the child’s shoulders and back, leading to discomfort and even injury. It is important to choose a backpack that is the right size for the child’s body, so that it fits comfortably and does not cause strain. When choosing a backpack, try it on first. Make sure it fits from waist level up to about 1-2 inches below the shoulders. The bottom of the backpack should sit snugly in the curve of the lower back without going lower than 4 inches from the waist line (bellybutton).

This is an example of a backpack that is too big.

Contact the clinic or book online with one of our osteopaths to further discuss fitting a backpack, pain in the back (or anywhere really!) or alternative queries you may have. We’re here to help!

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