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Smart Backpack Habits: A Guide for Parents on Safeguarding Children's Health

As parents, we're always looking for ways to protect our children's health and wellbeing. One often overlooked aspect is the way they wear and pack their school backpacks. Improper use can lead to back pain, posture problems, and other health issues. This blog, backed by evidence-based information, offers guidance on the best practices for wearing and packing a school backpack.

Understanding the Impact Research shows that heavy backpacks can cause musculoskeletal discomfort and postural changes in children. A study published in "Spine" (January 2010) found that carrying a backpack that exceeds 10-15% of a child's body weight can significantly affect their spinal health.

Choosing the Right Backpack

  1. Size Matters: Select a backpack that is proportionate to your child's body size and not larger than needed.

  2. Padding is Key: Look for backpacks with padded back panels and shoulder straps to distribute weight more evenly.

  3. Waist and Chest Straps: These help in balancing the load and reducing the strain on the shoulders and back.

Packing it Right

  1. Weight Limits: Ensure the backpack's weight doesn't exceed 10-15% of your child's body weight.

  2. Heaviest Items Closest to the Back: Place heavier items like textbooks closest to your child’s back in the backpack. It helps in maintaining balance and proper posture.

  3. Use All Compartments: Distribute the weight evenly by using all the available compartments.

Wearing it Correctly

  1. Both Straps on Shoulders: Always use both shoulder straps. Slinging a backpack over one shoulder can unevenly distribute weight and strain muscles.

  2. Adjust the Straps: The backpack should sit snugly against your child's back, with the bottom of the backpack at waist level.

  3. Regular Checks: Regularly check how your child wears their backpack and adjust as necessary.

Educating Your Child

  1. Awareness: Teach your child why it’s important to wear and pack a backpack correctly.

  2. Regular Cleanouts: Encourage them to clean out their backpack weekly to remove unnecessary items.

  3. When to Seek Professional Advice: If your child complains of back pain or shows signs of strain, it’s wise to consult your chiropractor

Through January and February we will be conducting free screenings to ensure your child is ready for the new school year ahead. Call us on 9428 4033 to make a booking and please mention it’s for a Children’s Spinal Health Check at the time of booking.

Adopting these smart backpack habits can significantly reduce the risk of back pain and posture problems in schoolchildren. By choosing the right backpack, packing it wisely, and ensuring it's worn correctly, you can safeguard your child's health and comfort. Remember, small changes can make a big difference in your child's wellbeing.

See the backpack that has the Australian Chiropractic Association tick of approval here.

Head to the ACA website for more information on how to set your child up for this back to school season.


Dr Mark has a special interest in helping recreational athletes of all ages perform better and prevent injury. Correct breathing and postural alignment are critical for top performance and injury prevention and is an integral part of “The Over 40 Athlete System” that Mark has developed.

Dr Julie has a special interest in helping mothers and “mothers to be”. Her Post Graduate qualifications in Paediatric Chiropractic and as an ex-midwife give her a unique ability to help pregnant women, new mums and their young children.

Yours in Health,

Dr's Mark & Julie


  • Spine Journal: "Back Pain and Backpacks in School Children" (January 2010)

  • American Academy of Pediatrics: "Backpack Safety Tips for Parents and Kids"


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