Backpack Safety

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School is back in session and the need for children/youth wearing backpacks in returning. Here are a few tips to keep their backs healthy while they carry all their books and supplies from class to class and ensure your kids don’t have any unnecessary back pain this year.


  • Should Not Extend Above Shoulders
  • Should Rest In Contour Of Low Back (Not Sag Down Toward Buttocks)
  • Should Sit Evenly In Middle Of Back


  • Shoulder Straps Should Rest Comfortably On Shoulders And Underarms, With Arms Free To Move – Tighten Shoulder Straps To Achieve This Fit
  • Tighten Hip And Waist Straps To Hold Pack Near Body
  • Padded Straps Help Even Pressure Over The Shoulders

Weight Of Pack

  • Should Never Exceed 15% Of The Child’s Weight To Avoid Excess Loads On The Spine but here are some weight recommendations
    • 60 lbs child should carry max backpack weight of 5 lbs
    • 60-75 lbs can carry 10 lbs
    • 100 lbs can carry 15 lbs
    • 125 lbs can carry 18 lbs
    • 150 lbs can carry 20 lbs
    • 200 lbs can carry 25 lbs
    • No one should carry more thatn 25 lbs in a school backpack

Lifting Of Pack

  • Proper Lifting Is Done By Bending The Knees, Squatting To Pack Level, And Keeping Pack Close To Body To Lift First To Waist Level And Then Up To Shoulders

Carrying The Pack

  • Keep Both Shoulder Straps In Place And Pack Centered
  • Spinal Forces Increase With Distance From The Body’s Center


  • Uneven Stresses On The Spine Can Cause Muscle Imbalances. This Can Lead To Pain And Possibly Functional Scoliosis.


If your child does start to complain of constant back pain, and you have evaluated their backpack usage. Don’t hesitate to call our Pocatello clinic at (208) 233-4800.

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