Skip to main content
Explore URMC
URMC / Encyclopedia / Content

4 Steps to Avoid Backpack Injuries

Do your children’s backpacks seem to be growing as quickly as they are? It may sound silly, but heavy backpacks can cause back, neck, and shoulder pain, as well as posture problems. Here’s what you need to know before your child topples over the next time he or she heads to school:

  1. Pick it up properly. Double check that your child is bending using both knees (not bending over at the waist) to pick up or wear the backpack.

  2. Get strappy. Slinging it over one shoulder may seem “cool,” but it can strain muscles and increase spine curvature, so be sure kids always use both shoulder straps. If the backpack has a waist strap, tell your child to use it.

  3. Fill it evenly. Pack the heaviest books closest to the center of your child’s back.

  4. Weigh in. Even with all your child’s textbooks, folders, and binders, the bag shouldn’t weigh more than 10 to 20 percent of his or her total body weight.