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The Adverse Effects of Heavy School Backpacks on Kids

With the back-to-school season in full swing, it’s essential to understand that your child’s backpack could have long-term effects on their posture, alignment, and overall wellness. So, if you recall the argument about buying the bag with their favorite cartoon character, remember that a combination of style and functionality is the key to spinal health.

Today, books aren’t the only culprit for heavy packs. With the addition of laptops or Chromebooks to everyday supplies, our children need a backpack that is built efficiently and fits their bodies. The recommended weight of a backpack is 10-15% of a child’s body weight; however, most backpacks are well above this limit. If your child is 100 pounds, their backpack should be around 10-15 pounds, but many are well over 30 pounds when loaded with a full day of class materials. Think about the last time you tried to lift your high-schooler’s bag off the floor; now you understand how far off they are from the recommended maximum weight!


  1. Size: The backpack should not be wider than your child’s torso because it increases the chances of filling the bag above capacity. Eventually, the excess weight will cause pain and discomfort in the neck, shoulders, and back as children overcompensate how they carry their bags.
  2. Shoulder Straps: Bags should have wide double straps to distribute the weight more evenly across the body. Adding chest or waist straps can improve weight distribution even more.
  3. Multiple Sections: Different compartments help spread the weight out instead of having all materials thrown into one large space. Distributing the weight in sections also helps keep the bag from sagging at the bottom, which adds pressure to the lower back.
  4. Inside Padding: Ensure padding at the back of the backpack that will be up against your child’s back. The bag will become more comfortable to carry and protect children from having sharp objects poke through the material.
  5. Reflective Material: We added this feature because it is a critical safety feature! If your child walks to and from school or other activities, ensure they are visible to vehicles and people.


After giving your child a well-built, proper-fitting backpack, the challenging part is ensuring that it doesn’t become overloaded and harm your child’s back.

A few of the adverse effects a heavy backpack can have on your child are poor posture, consistent pain, and discomfort on their back, neck, and shoulders, as well as misalignment that can cause issues that will last long after your child hangs up their last school backpack in the closet.


You can help your child avoid these adverse effects with proper chiropractic care and a preventative wellness plan. Back to Health Wellness Care has over 20 years in the chiropractic care industry and is ready to help you and your child learn the best ways to carry their backpack and strengthen and align your body to carry the weight properly. Kids can (and should) get chiropractic care — schedule your free consultation by calling 973-595-1809 or emailing info@back2healthtoday.com.

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