A Guide to Choose the Right Backpack for Kids

Instead of randomly picking just any backpack for your kid, you need to select one that is comfortable and suits his/her preferences. This Buzzle article provides some simple and helpful tips for choosing the best backpack for kids.
Choosing the right backpack for kids
Did You Know?
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in 2011, nearly 14,000 children aged 5 to 18 years, were hospitalized due to backpack-related injuries.
Whether your child is starting off in a new school or college, a good backpack is a necessity. But what should you choose? Faced with unlimited backpack choices in every possible shape, color, and design, it is hard to make the right choice. Of course, your kid would probably have a big say in the backpack he/she wants, whether it be a specific color or style. While keeping the child's preferences in mind, you also need to ensure the backpack is safe for your child.

So even though your child may love Cinderella on her backpack, the wrong design or improper straps can lead to a strained back and aching shoulders. Remember that a backpack loaded with everyday books and gear can be a heavy burden for your child, and by choosing the wrong bag, you would certainly not want to add to this burden. Here are some tips that will help you choose the right backpack for your child.

How to Choose a Backpack for Your Child

Choosing a backpack for a child who probably has his/her mind set on something else can be tough. You therefore need to ask the right questions before making your choice.

Is it the Right Size and Weight?

It is vital to choose the right-sized backpack. An oversized, stuffed bag can lead to all sorts of back and neck problems. The best backpack for a child is one which sits between the base of the neck and lower back comfortably. The bottom of the pack should rest above the child's hips. The straps should rest comfortably on the shoulders.

The weight of the backpack is often ignored. However, if it is made of a heavy material, then it would weigh more when books and other stuff is kept in the backpack. So, even if the leather backpack that your child demanded looks pretty cool, you need to avoid it and go for something traditional and lightweight, such as nylon bags. Choosing a durable material that lasts longer and sustains the constant wear and tear is important.

Have I Checked the Straps?

The backpack should have two wide straps so that it can be worn on both shoulders with straps pulled snug. A one-shoulder backpack may look cool, but it increases the strain on one shoulder. Moreover, the straps need to be wide so that the weight is spread evenly on the shoulders over a greater surface area, thereby reducing strain. Narrow, thin straps, on the other hand, can dig into the shoulders painfully. You should also try to find bags with waist straps that ease the stress on the lower back, and distribute the weight evenly.

Does the Backpack Have Padding?

Padding on the back and the shoulder straps are not only comfortable, but also provide support that prevent strain on the shoulders and back. It eases the pressure on the shoulder blades and spine, making it easier for the child to carry the bag. Do a simple rebound test to check for comfort, durability, and support provided by the padding. Pinch the area and wait for the foam to regain its original shape. If the padding crinkles or pops, then it is definitely not meant for your child.

Should I Look for More Compartments?

Are backpacks with multiple storage compartments better? If the backpack has many pockets, then it is easier to distribute the weight evenly. Individualized compartments allow you to segregate the load effectively. Zippered compartments allow you to store wallets, ID cards, and other essentials safely, and also provide easy access. Also, check if the backpack has separate padded compartment for storing laptops, chargers, and phones.

Are Backpacks with Wheels Better?

Backpacks on wheels have become quite popular since they literally carry the weight off the child's shoulders, and they need not be carried on the back. However, look for backpacks with sturdy wheels, and do check the school's policy for rolling backpacks. Many schools have banned these backpacks as they do not fit well in regular school lockers. If you like wheeled backpacks then do checkout the L.L.Bean Rolling Original Book Pack and Lands' End Wheeled ClassMate StudyHaul.

Is the Backpack Stylish Enough?

Your child will use a backpack every single day of school, from morning till the time he/she gets back home. No wonder, the child is looking for something that suits his/her personality and interests. You do not have to pick just any dull and drab looking backpack even though it is safe for the child.

You need to choose a backpack that is stylish, colorful, and suits your kid's style. Of course, you also need to consider your child's age as well. You can't really get a Hello Kitty! backpack for your 14-year-old. There are a variety of backpack styles to choose from. Colorful geometric prints, polka dots, and bold stripes to solid colors, or even an edgy animal prints, get a backpack that your kid loves.

Backpack Safety Tips

Ask your child to carry his/her backpack on both shoulders and not sling the backpack on one shoulder.
Do not overload the backpack. Therapists recommend that kids carry backpacks that weigh no more than ten to fifteen percent of their body weight.
Ask the kids to use lockers to store their books and other items instead of carrying them everyday.
Pack wisely, place the heavier stuff at the bottom and the lighter stuff on top.

Check out some really good backpacks such as the L.L.Bean Original Book Pack, Lands' End School Uniform Solid ClassMate Medium Backpack, High Sierra Evolution Backpack, and JanSport Thunderclap Backpack. Do inspect the quality of the backpack before buying it. If you spot frayed edges, 'unfinished' seam, flimsy buckles, or rusty zippers, then you should definitely avoid the bag. Also, watch out for signs, such as numbness and tingling of arms or rubbing of shoulders and neck, that can indicate an overweight backpack or an improper fit.
Published: December 11, 2013
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