Backpacks are available almost everywhere when the back to school shopping frenzy begins and you can find inexpensive backpacks in drugstores, supermarkets, discount stores and department stores. Sometimes you can even find them in craft stores, for decorating yourself. Sporting goods stores, luggage and leather stores also sell a lot of backpacks, but these are generally more expensive.
You can get backpacks for as little as $10.00 all the way up to well over $200.00, this price range, is for backpacks that young children up to college level use for book bags. If you want packs for camping or serious hiking, you can expect to pay much more. Here we will deal with backpacks that are generally used by students of all ages.
With very young children who don’t really need a backpack, but who want them because they’ve seen one with Spider Man or Barbie, or because their older sibling has one. Sometimes nursery schools will allow a child to bring a pack to school with their “lovey” in it, and others will not allow them. For this age and purpose an inexpensive character backpack would be fine, in fact this type of bag might even work through first grade.
After that, you will need to find a bigger, sturdier backpack, that can hold textbooks, workbooks, papers, crayons, and pencils, plus whatever else your daughter decides to bring to school. You can still find inexpensive backpacks for the older children. The question is, are they safe and back friendly?
Many America children above the 2nd grade level, carry backpacks that weigh as much as ¼ of their body weight. Because of this, Pediatricians, Orthopedists and parents are seeing an increasing number of complaints about back, neck and shoulder pain as well as numbness in the arm and hands, which can not be attributed to anything other than too heavy, improperly worn backpacks. Some experts say that a child can safely carry 20% of their body weight, but most recommend no more than 10-15% of the child’s body weight.
Doesn’t sound so bad does it? But for a 50 pound child that is 7and ½ pounds bouncing against her back, every day morning and evening, which can cause repetitive impact injury. Another problem is that narrow unpadded shoulder straps, can dig into the shoulder causing pain, numbness and tingling in the hands and arms. Can these problems be solved?
Yes if you get your child the right backpack and insist that she wear it properly. At the very least you should get a backpack that has wide padded shoulder straps, padded back and a waist belt. This belt helps to stabilize the load and keeps the pack from bouncing against the back. These packs are more expensive than the ones most kids carry but well worth the extra money.
You can get one from a well known reputable company, for about $60.00 which isn’t as bad as it sounds, These bags are made of very durable material, have the basic safe backpack features, and have a lifetime warranty. If a zipper breaks, you send it back and the company will replace or repair it.
There are additional features on some backpacks that add to the price of the pack. Some of these bags come with chest and side straps that help in stabilizing the load and also distribute the weight of the load across the back and abdominal muscles, the two strongest muscle systems in the body.
These added features can add significantly to the cost of the backpack. My advice is to get the best you can afford and definitely get one that has at least the waist strap. If you do a web search, you can often find a wholesaler for these back packs, which can actually make this backpack inexpensive in reality.