Backpack Safety

Important Notice
July 25, 2019
Annual Training and Education
August 20, 2019

Backpack Safety


The kids are back in school, and that means your checklist is longer than ever. Elevate your list to superhero status by including a quick evaluation of the backpack. Yes, really! A backpack that's too heavy or worn incorrectly can cause back pain, neck pain, or shoulder pain.

Here are few tips to make sure your backpack fits well and reduces stress on your back, neck, and shoulder.

1. Keep the backpack 10% - 15% or less of your total body weight.
Transitioning to a paperless way of life would seem to lighten the load on backpack weight. But, unfortunately, that is not always the case. The backpack should be no more than 15% of your total body weight. This percentage is supported by the Pediatric Orthopedic Society of North America, and more information can be found on their website,

In case you don't feel like doing the math, we've created a chart that reflects the max weight of 15%.
Body Weight in LBSMax Backpack Weight in LBS
40 - 506 - 7.5
50 - 607.5 - 9
60 - 709 - 10.5
70 - 8010.5 - 12
80 - 9012 - 13.5
90 - 10013.5 - 15

2. Use both backpack straps.
Yes! Be sure to wear both backpack straps. Using both wide, cushioned straps help distribute the weight evenly across your back. Try to take your backpack off and on from waist level. Avoid bending down or squatting while wearing it.

3. Wear your backpack over the mid-back.
The backpack should rest comfortably towards the middle of your back. This protects your spine by allowing the strongest muscles in your back to support the weight of the bag. It should fit comfortably and securely. If it bounces around your back when you walk, it's probably too loose.

4. Arrange the items from heaviest to lightest.
Think about this way: if you held a 5 pound weight out in front of you with your arms extended, your muscles would have to work pretty hard to support that weight, right? What if you held it close to your chest with arms bent? That would be much easier because all of your body is helping support the weight. The same rule applies to your backpack. Keep the heaviest items in the back of your bag closest to your body.
This information is provided as an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.