These simple tips can help take the pain out of back-to-school

Size is everything Choose a backpack that is proportionate to body size and not larger than needed. The top of the backpack should not extend higher than the top of the shoulder, and the bottom should not fall below the top of the hipbone.

It's all in the material Select a backpack made of lightweight material (vinyl or canvas instead of leather).

Strap it up The shoulder straps should be at least two inches wide, adjustable, and padded. Ensure that they do not cut into or fit too snugly around and under the arms.

A little bit of padding A backpack should have a padded back for added protection and comfort. Pack the odd-shaped items on the outside, so they don't dig into the back.

Pack it right Evenly distribute contents and pack the heaviest items closest to the body, this reduces the strain as the weight is closer to the body's centre of gravity.

Hug your hips A hip strap or waist belt helps to effectively redistribute as much as 50 to 70 per cent of the weight off the shoulders and spine onto the pelvis, balancing the strain on the bones, joints, and muscles.

More pockets please Choose a backpack that has several individual pockets instead of one large compartment, this will help to distribute the weight evenly and keep contents from shifting.

Weight a minute! Backpacks should never exceed 15 per cent of a secondary school child's body weight or 10 per cent of an elementary school child's body weight.

Wheels and handles Explore other backpack options such as a backpack with wheels and a pull handle for easy rolling.

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Carol Ireland

Carol Ireland

Sales Representative
CENTURY 21 Millennium Inc., Brokerage*
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