How Much Does Your Kids Backpack Weigh?

Backpacks and childhood injuries


Finally, school is back in session, chaos has been curtailed to a minimum, and school supplies have finally left the dining room table. Something is troubling me though, how heavy does a backpack have to be before the kid carrying it looks like a steroid abuser? The backpacks in my house require you to put on a hernia belt before you pick them up.

What happens if one of these kids falls backward on the backpack? I’ll tell you what happens, it looks like we flipped a turtle over on its back and it can’t get up.

Have you ever gotten a good look at all the kids on your local bus stop? They are all leaning forward far enough to look like they’re just about ready to start grazing on the grass. I’m kind of glad that the storms we had didn’t occur when all these kids were at the bus stop. It would have looked like a terrible mass overturning of the Mutant Ninja Turtles. All of them struggling to get back up, little legs in the air, crying and screaming, oh the humanity!

What’s in the backpacks? Are they carrying the bricks for an addition to the school? Possibly the tools needed for shop class? Maybe the shot-puts for the track team? Turns out it’s just the books and supplies for a normal school day.  Are they all reading War and Peace?

According to Web MD ( Researchers weighed the children’s backpacks and asked the kids how often they used their backpacks and how much pain, if any, they felt as a result.

Most students said they hurt, at least a bit, from their backpacks; 64% reported having back pain at some time. Two of every five children said they felt pain while wearing their backpacks. In students reporting pain, about 12% said it was “not bad,” while almost 90% said their back pain was “bad” or “very bad.”

Of those reporting back pain, 21% said their pain lasted more than six months. About 16% said they had missed school, gym class, or after-school sports because of the pain, and almost 17% said they had seen a doctor for their back pain. Most students with back pain said the pain was recurrent.

Your Childs backpack should not weigh more than 20% of their body weight.

Let me give you some examples:

Childs Weight               Backpack Weight Limit


50 #                                         10 #

60 #                                         12 #

70 #                                         14 #

80 #                                         16 #

90 #                                         18 #

100 #                                       20 #

110 #                                       22 #

120 #                                       24 #

130 #                                       26 #

140 #                                       28 #

150 #                                       30 #


Now according to the chart, if I were carrying a backpack I could carry a 5th grader in it. (I swallow a lot of aggression, along with a lot of pizza)

Just for kicks tonight have your child pack their backpack with the normal day’s books and supplies in it and weigh it. You will be surprised how tough your 5th grader is.

As a kid, I prided myself on not carrying anything to or from school if I didn’t have to (this explains my grade point average). Now it seems the contents of the library come home with the child. I’m beginning to wonder if it would be better to put the books online and have the child do their homework that way. It’s either that or I’m going to invest in a back brace company for the generation coming up now. I’m sure I’ll make a fortune off of it.

As cheap as computers have become we could as a district provide one for every student in the School Districts. (I’ll call Dell, maybe they’ll give us a deal) A lot of the students’ books are available online. It would also save the hassle of storing the books and updating them as time goes by. (My history book in high school referred to Abe Lincoln as the current president and I’m only 56).  Computer updates to textbooks would be a lot easier than buying all new books. Research would also be easier, and we would save a few trees too.

I have to go now, my ten-year-old fell over backward in the driveway with her backpack on and is doing her impression of an upside-down turtle. Better go help her or she’ll be there for hours.

Keeping the kids from looking like question marks when they get into their 30’s would be a nice thing, don’t you think?child carrying a backpack

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