My son started middle school this year. His text books 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 back back. 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 text books 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.
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
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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 waste 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 text books available at home
Make sure you have your child’s pediatrician check your child for 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 are on the rise!
Diane has a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology with a Minor in Health Management and Policy. She spent many years working in cancer research, academics, and biotechnology. Concern over the growing incidence of human disease and the birth of her children led her to begin living a more natural life. She quickly realized that the information she was learning along the way could be beneficial to many others and started blogging as a way to share this knowledge with others. While passionate about health and the environment she can’t quite give up her favorite Cheetos and Diet Coke! Learn more about her HERE.