• When carrying a backpack, it is important to know the functions of the straps. The shoulder straps are not there to carry the weight of the bag. They are predominantly there to stop the backpack from falling backwards.
• The waist straps are what should carry the bulk of the weight of the bag. Make sure they are tied tightly above the hips. This will make it much lighter on the shoulders, ideally there should be around 2-3 finger width of space between the shoulder strap and the shoulder if the waist strap is done properly.
• The chest strap can also be used to reduce the amount of vertical weight. Although if the waist strap is done properly this strap isn’t as necessary.
• Both shoulder straps should always be used. We want to keep the weight symmetrical. On that point the length of both shoulder straps should also be equal (this should ideally be checked each week to make sure the straps haven’t slipped)
• A good posture should be able to be maintained when walking. If your child has to lean forward the backpack is either too heavy to carry or has not been packed correctly.
• The heaviest objects shoulder be packed closer to the body. We usually advise packing the heavy objects first so they can be put in the closest section to the body.
• The weight of the bag should not be more than 15% of their body weight.
• Make sure the bag gets cleaned out each week. An amazing amount of objects can accumulate over the week, adding unnecessary weight.
Choosing the right back pack
• Look for a backpack that is made of light weight material with padding on all the straps as well where the back touches the backpack. Breathable material is also advisable.
• The height of the bag should be around the length of the torso
• The width of the bag should not exceed the width of your child
• Choose a bag that is correct for your child’s size now, not one that they ‘will grow into’. Conversely, as they outgrow their bag this will need to be changed to.