Stop The Backpack Attack
The Backpack Is Destroying Our Kids' Backs! Learn What You Can Do To Ease The Burden!

Often, our children are carrying more weight than their backs can safely manage. Drive past any school and you will see heavy, improperly positioned backpacks on most students. You're in luck. At Cincinnati Health Institute, we are as concerned about your child's healthy spine as you are. Spinal health should start at an early age. If your student has an excess of the recommended suggested weight, on a continuous basis, it can do real damage to their developing spines.

If your child feels like they have the weight of the world on their shoulders, they just might! We have created a backpack safety cheat sheet just for you!


1) Weight: This is very important. Your child's backpack should be no more than 5-10% of their total body weight.

2) Positioning: Your child's backpack should not hang more than 4 inches below the waist and should never be wider or longer than your child's torso. Hip and chest belts are provided for a reason. They help distribute the weight of the pack evenly across your child's hips and torso.

3) Discourage the "cool" one strap carry. This puts all the weight on one side causing pain posture problems.

4) Style: Multiple compartments help to distribute weight as well. Padded back and shoulder straps protect your child from skin chafing and provide comfort.

The compression straps on some packs are great to stabilize loads that have lots of items.

5) Size: Choose the appropriate size. Unfortunately, a roomy backpack just encourages the storage and carrying of nonessential items.

Finally, if you find that the load your child is being asked to carry weighs more than the recommended amount, please talk to his or her teacher.      

Find National Safety Council recommendations here: