Why Kids Wearing Their Backpack This Way Can Be Dangerous

Another school year is soon to be here and boy did this summer just fly by! The start of school is physically and mentally demanding for students.  Most kids throughout the summer might have lost the strength and stamina it takes to lug heavy bags around and sit in chairs for hours.  

Here are some complementary tips for a safe, productive and healthy school year.

The general consensus is that a backpack should not exceed 10%-15% of one’s body weight.  Adding more weight than recommended causes the person to bend backwards, which puts pressure on the fluid filled spinal discs.  This bowing of the spine forces the head to shift forward to compensate for the backwards pull.


These two scenarios may lead to a condition known as Anterior Head Syndrome (AHS).  AHS can lead to early degeneration of the spine and nervous system straining that otherwise would not occur.

Are some backpacks or bags better than others? Yes!  A backpack with two straps provides even weight distribution for the body.   Having two straps over the shoulders allows the person to use their largest muscles.  Using larger muscles leads to less fatigue and less chances of putting strain on the spine. 

So how about one strap across the body?  This can compress the first rib and affect the brachial plexus, which is a bundle of nerves coming off your neck.  If you must use a one-strap bag, make sure to alternate shoulders periodically.


Here is a quick review:

-Two shoulder straps not one.

-The backpack should be 10%-15% of body weight, keeping heavier items closer towards the spine.

-An over stuffed bag can be a tripping hazard on a school bus or classroom aisle.

-Turning abruptly can knock or hit another person off balance.

-Sore and tired muscles can affect concentration in the classroom or at work.

-Wearing a backpack appropriately will help ensure your child’s health & safety.

Here’s to a safe, happy and healthy school year!