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Hey Encinitas Parents, How Heavy is Your Student's Backpack?


As the Encinitas school year kicks into full swing we start to see backpacks everywhere! 

Not all backpacks are created equal, and your kid can attest to that fact. No one wants to be cruising the halls of the Encinitas High School in a backpack that isn't cool (high school is a tough time). However, as parents it is our job to find a balance between cool and safe. "According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 24,300 people were treated in hospitals and doctor offices for injuries related to backpacks in 2012, and more than 9,500 of those injuries were kids 5-18 years old." Yikes! That is no joke! But backpacks can't be one hundred percent to blame for this statistic.

How much weight is too much weight in a student's backpack?  

Part of the reason backpacks are such a pain in the back is because students are loading them up with way too much stuff! Sometimes there isn't enough time to race from one period to the next and get to the locker to drop off that ten-pound history book. It is worth taking a moment to talk to your student about his or her backpack load, because a well-balanced backpack is the difference between a successful school year and a school year filled with doctor's notes. Here are some things to talk to your student about:

  • Make sure your child is carrying 15-20 percent of their body weight. If your high-schooler is weighs 100 pounds they should be carrying 15 to 20 pounds in their backpack. 
  • Heavy items are going to make their way into the backpack, this is inevitable, but when they do place the heaviest items closer to the back. This keeps the weight distributed correctly and doesn't put as much strain on the shoulder. 
  • It might not look cool, but when you pick up that heavy backpack bend from the knees!

"Backpacks are designed to distribute the weight of load among some of the body's strongest muscles," - Dr. Michael Wade Shrader (Orthopedic surgeon and AAOS spokesman) 

School backpacks are designed to carry a specific amount of weight: they aren't mountaineering backpacks. Those are equipped with back braces, waist straps, and much more! This is why they can be filled with 50 plus pounds. Don't let your child treat his or her school backpack like a mountaineer's backpack. There is no need to carry every book in their backpack! Help them plan a schedule around their homework so they don't have to carry all their books home in one night. Or if they have a lot to bring home help distribute the weight by holding a book in from of them. Have a great, back safe, school year!


Always consult your chiropractor or primary care physician for all your health related advice.

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