Back to School Backpack Buying Tips Fashion vs Function Fitting a Backpack Backpack Tips

The calendar may say it is still summer, but retailers are already filling their shelves with the latest style of backpacks and lunch boxes.

Buying a backpack for your children doesn’t have to end in a battle that leaves both of you in tears. With a few basic tips, you can find a bag that fits your child, won’t cost you a fortune, and will bring a smile the those shiny faces on the first day of school.

Forget fashion. It is the last thing you need to consider when shopping for a backpack. Finding a school bag that can be adjusted to fit your child is the primary consideration when buying a backpack.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, a backpack should rest on your child’s lower back. The proper placement will distribute the weight of the pack more evenly and prevent shoulder strain and pain.

Check the straps of any bag you are considering buying. Make sure the shoulder straps are curved, padded and adjustable. The bag should also have sternum and waist straps that can be clipped together to distribute the pack’s weight more evenly.

As a good rule of thumb, a full pack should weigh no more than 15-20  percent of your child’s body weight.  If your child tips the scale at 50-pounds, his loaded backpack should weigh-in at five-and-a-half pounds. That includes the weight of the pack.

Zippers should be easy to negotiate around curves and corners. The bag won’t last if zippers break the first time your student opens or closes the bag. Zipper pulls can ease the stress on zippers and help extend the life of your investment.

Fashion is the last item you need to think about before buying the backpack. No one wants an ugly back to tote around all day long. If your child has a favorite cartoon character they want to feature on their backpack, there are ways to meet this need without buying a backpack because of the character it features.

Instead buy a solid color bag and customize it. You can make decorating the bag a project you and child do together. Use fabric markers, stickers, and decals to create your own Dora the Explorer and Diego bags. Add tassels as zipper pulls and you have a customized bag your child can distinguish from his classmates’ bags.

With a little planning, you can make that all-important first day back to school special for your student.