Backpack safety tips

Parents may not be aware of the hazards in selecting the wrong backpack for their children. There are many hazards which include; internal rotation of the shoulders, which leads to long term poor posture, muscle strain and localised irritation to the spine and ribcage, changes to the natural curve of the spine, and an increased risk of falls because the child is forced to lean forward due to heavy or off-balanced load.


  1. Backpacks should be 15-20% of your child’s own weight. For example, if your child is 25kg then the backpack should not exceed 5kg. (If your child is slumping forward its a sign the pack is too heavy)

    Backpack safety tip
    Backpack safety tips
  2. Make sure you distribute the weight evenly. Pack heavy items at the bottom to ensure that the heaviest load is carried lower and closer to your child’s core area.
  3. Padded shoulder straps prevent the strap from digging into their shoulders and back.
  4. Adjust the backpack to fit close to their body, but do not over tighten to pull on shoulders.
  5. Carry the backpack on both shoulders. Carrying a bag over one shoulder forces other back muscles to compensate for the uneven weight distribution. As the spine leans to the opposite side to counterbalance the weight. Over time this muscle imbalance will cause muscle strain and back pain. Neck muscles can also be affected, which may lead to neck pain and headaches.
  6. The top of the backpack should be below the neck and 5-7cm above the waist.
  7. Be aware of the contents of their backpack. Limit items to what is needed for that day. Kids tend to accumulate items in their backpacks without realising it.
  8. Place odd-shaped items in the front section of the backpack to avoid direct contact with your child’s back.
  9. Encourage your child to lift the backpack with his or her leg muscles and avoids bending the back.

Backpack safety tips:

For more information please contact us at Chiropractor Cairns. Ph: 07 4031 0480