How much does your child’s backpack weigh? Should you care?

My son started middle school this year. His textbooks are about 3 inches thick (he has 4 main ones, plus workbooks and required reading books). He was also told to have a 3-inch binder plus a composition book for each class. All of that together does not come CLOSE to fitting in his backpack.

Add to that the lunchbox and trumpet and he heads off to the bus every morning loaded down like a pack mule. One or two of the textbooks are online but they are not as easy to sit down and actually STUDY from as a real book you can hold in your hands.

I just spent some significant money on Amazon buying used textbooks for us to keep at home. All but the math one (which I am going to talk to the school about getting an extra) because that one alone was $50! (USED!)  I came across an interesting link that I thought I would share.

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two children's backpacks hanging on chairs in the classroom

How much should your child’s backpack weigh?

My son (at age 11 and in 6th grade) weighs 95 pounds and is about 5 foot 3 inches tall. According to the calculations I came across, his backpack should weigh NO MORE THAN 10% to 20% of his weight…so, between 9.5 pounds and 19 pounds.  It weighs 30 pounds! Use this backpack optimal weight calculator to figure out if your child’s backpack is too heavy

Seriously, something needs to be done, here! I am going to talk to the school about getting an extra math book and will definitely talk to someone about this issue while I am there! Here are a few suggestions on how to prevent back pain in kids due to heavy packs!

  • Buy a backpack that has wide, padded shoulder straps and a waist belt
  • Avoid messenger type bags and carrying packs on only one shoulder
  • Consider using a backpack with wheels (unfortunately, these are often not allowed at school…)
  • Consider having a second set of textbooks available at home  

Make sure you have your child’s pediatrician check your child for the back, spine, and hip issues at their yearly appointment. I have a history of scoliosis in my family so I have always made it a point to have my kids checked since they were babies but with kids carrying this much weight around all day every day, the incidence of back problems is on the rise!



2 thoughts on “How much does your child’s backpack weigh? Should you care?”

  1. Wow, that is awful. I remembering carrying a ton of books around all the time and hated it. It’s a good idea to have extra books if you can afford it.


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