3 Myths Regarding Your Child’s Backpack

Backpacks are an essential school item that many parents believe can have a long-term effect on a child’s back. While a light book bag seems relatively harmless, a heavy one may cause parents to question whether their children’s spines are in jeopardy. For those concerned about the load their children are carrying to from school, here are the top three backpack myths, debunked.

Kids Shouldn’t Wear Backpacks

Some parents feel that any load placed on a developing spine should is potentially damaging. While there is a slight cause for concern if the backpack is too heavy, moderate weights placed on the spine are harmless. In fact, moderate backpack loads may even be beneficial to your children’s muscular development and ability to handle physical stress.

The human body is built to bear loads, allowing it to handle a backpack’s load effectively. Keep in mind that a child’s backpack should weigh approximately 10 to 20 percent of their body weight. Any more than that and children may start to feel pain.

Heavy Backpacks Cause Scoliosis


A heavy backpack will not cause scoliosis or worsen the condition. Scoliosis occurs during prepubescent years and is thought to be the result of specific gene expressions, not external factors. Although, a backpack that is too heavy can cause a child to develop pain and uncomfortable sensations in joints and surrounding muscles. It may also cause a child’s posture to suffer as a result of leaning too far forward to compensate for the heavy load.

If this is the case, prompt correction of the situation is necessary to avoid future problems. Parents may consider purchasing children smaller backpacks that will not carry large loads to alleviate the problem. It is also essential to encourage children to tote their book bags using both straps.

Children will Speak Up About Back Pain

Kids are always on the go, and many don’t even think twice about aches and pains they experience on a daily basis. A heavy backpack may cause a child pain, but the pain may cease the instant they take it off. They may not think twice about it, but parents should.

You should have a medical professional examine any pain that results from carrying a heavy backpack. Periodically check in with your child to see if he or she is experiencing any discomfort from wearing his or bag. Doing so could prevent poor posture and persistent aches and pains.

Although backpacks generally don’t inflict much pain on children, they can intensify an adult’s existing spine condition. If you believe that your book bag is wreaking havoc on your spine, speak with a knowledgeable spine expert in your area. Marc Cohen specializes in minimally invasive procedures and has experience working with individuals of the New Jersey area to seek a resolution to their chronic back pain. Contact the Spine Institute at one of our many locations to schedule your appointment today.