Heading out for tax-free weekend this weekend? Know how to choose the right backpack for back to school

How about this one? Kaitlyn Bradley, 12, points out a backpack to Lukas Parra, 8. DEBORAH CANNON / AMERICAN STATESMAN
How about this one? Kaitlyn Bradley, 12, points out a backpack to Lukas Parra, 8. DEBORAH CANNON / AMERICAN STATESMAN

This school thing is about to happen. And, while your shopping this weekend for tax-free weekend, you’re probably looking at buying a new backpack.

Your kids will want all things “Frozen” or “Star Wars” or in their favorite color. They want to look cool, after all. Their backpack is a statement item.

Their backpack could also being making another statement: OUCH!!!

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates there are more than 7,300 backpack-related injuries treated by doctors and hospitals annually.

With that in mind, how do you know which backpack is the right one for your child’s body (not for your child’s style.

Ask yourself these questions:

Is the bag lightweight?

Does it have two wide shoulder straps? Skip the cute messenger bags or laptop bags.

Is the back padded?

Does it go past your child’s waist? If so, it’s too big.

Does it have a strap that goes across the waist or across the chest? That can help get the weight off the back.

Once you have the perfect bag, ask yourself these questions:

Does everything your child is putting in there have to go in there? The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that a  bag should not weigh more than 20 percent of a child’s weight — and that’s still A LOT.

How much do those school supplies weight and do they have to? Think about the weight of those three-ringed binders, folders and notebooks, and if there is a lighter option, choose it.

Are they packing the bag correctly? Are they distributing items across all the compartments, and not just putting everything in the large center one?

Are they wearing it correctly? That means using both straps, Kids, and the straps should be tight against their back and allow the pack to sit 2 inches about their waist.

Are they picking it up correctly? This is a perfect time to learn to bend with the knees and use both hands, not just the thumb.

For more about picking the right bag and using it correctly, see my interview with Dr. Barbara Bergin, an orthopedic surgeon at Texas Orthopedics. 

Find more back to school tips at austin360.com/backtoschool, including ways to save money on school supplies, our school supplies comparison shopping and the 10 things you need to do before school starts.



Author: Nicole Villalpando

Nicole Villalpando writes about families in the Raising Austin blog and the Raising Austin column on Saturdays. She also offers a weekly and monthly family calendar at austin360.com/raisingaustin. She tweets at @raisingaustin.

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