Back To School – Backpack Tips!

July 30, 2019

Children across central Kentucky will be heading back to school next month, and the Bluegrass Orthopaedics team would like to take some time to talk about backpack safety and posture.  Children are at a critical time for growth in their lives and carrying a backpack that’s too heavy can cause some long-term health concerns.

Here are some of the main injuries that can be caused by heavy backpacks:

  • Muscle Strain of the Upper and Lower Back
  • Poor Posture – Leading to Potential Issues Throughout Development
  • Falls Caused by Heavy Backpacks – Have You Picked Up Your Child’s Backpack Lately?

Here are the top three things to consider when fitting your backpack:

  1. Straps

    1. If you have a backpack, use both straps! With both straps, you’re dividing the weight in half, equally over both shoulders.
    2. If you have a “messenger”/laptop bag or gym bag, put the strap on one shoulder with the bag on the opposite hip (the strap should cross your chest). Make sure to switch this daily, or even a few times during your walk to share the weight evenly.
  2. Location of Backpack

    1. The backpack should be centered along the middle of the back, with the bottom of the bag being about at the middle of the low back and NOT lower.
    2. If you have the bag too high or low it will extend your low back too much and could result in pain.
    3. If you have a messenger/laptop bag, it should rest comfortably centered on your outside hip, not lower.
  3. Weight and Distribution

    1. The backpack should NOT weigh more than 15% of your child’s body weight.
    2. You should put the heaviest items so that they’ll be closest to your body when wearing the bag.

If you’re concerned that your child’s backpack is too heavy, be sure to talk to a doctor or physical therapist about ways you can help.  To all the children in the BGO family, we wish you a happy and healthy school year!


Our mission at Bluegrass Orthopaedics’ Postural Nerve Center of the Bluegrass is to provide a thorough mechanical evaluation and assessment of a patient’s posture and how it may be contributing to their pain and nerve symptoms. A proximal nerve evaluation is essential to specifically target the problem area.  To learn more about BGO’s Postural Center of the Bluegrass, please visit here!