Back-to-school tips — How to choose the right backpack for your little one

I still remember my back-to-school jitters like it was yesterday. The Big Day was preceded by a lengthy and chaotic shopping trip at Staples. I begged my mother for colourful gel pens and quirky notebooks, my older sister threatened to fail her school year if she didn’t have the pencil case of her choosing and my little sister bypassed negotiations, sneaking whatever her heart desired in the cart, while my mother and father instructed her to put it back or else. Our mission was simple — exasperate and conquer, I mean, what kid doesn’t want school supplies that rock and awe, regardless of necessity or budget?

And there was no purchase as paramount as the perfect backpack.

The backpack is where your personality shines and, in playground politics, it’s also where you redefine yourself. It’s where you say ‘Yeah, I was into Frozen last year but I’m a big girl now, check out my Funky Cat backpack’. Parents tends to understand that such an important decision is best left to the child who will have to live with the backpack for the year to come. And this, parents, is where we get it wrong.

Like the frame of a house, the spine what keeps your child’s body sturdy and upright. Put too much weight on this frame while a young body is still developing, and it could change a kid’s posture, compress his spine, and impair growth, says Rob Danoff, a doctor of osteopathic medicine and a certified family physician with Philadelphia’s Aria Health System. via Your Kid’s Gigantic Backpack Is a Health Risk, Time Magazine.

Backpacks by Kodiak, available for sale in our Kids back-to-school section.


A 2012 study from the University of California found that a third of kids aged 11 to 14 report back pain — caused by heavy backpack loads, lack of padding, faulty design and inappropriate weight distribution.

Watching your children wobble by ‘like adorable turtles, their little limbs poking out from under outsized shells’ might be the cutest thing you’d ever seen but long term, it can seriously impact their wellbeing.

Spare your kids the aches and pains by learning these basics of backpack wearing.


  1. Size matters

Once your child has set its eyes on a desired backpack, let him try it out. Don’t be shy to place books or even your satchel inside it to get a better feel. A backpack should sit between the base of the neck and the lower back, snugly against the back, while straps should rest on the shoulders — make sure the backpack doesn’t sag low on your child’s back by adjusting the straps.

  1. Padded is best

A backpack worth its salt will have a padded back panel and straps. This will help alleviate some of the pressure on the spine and shoulders.

  1. Consider wheels

More and more parents are opting for backpacks on wheels. Before buying, check in with the principal — some schools have banned wheeled backpacks as they are considered a tripping hazard, cannot be slung over chairs (instead blocking already narrow aisles) and can be difficult to store in lockers.


  1. Packing

So you bought the backpack of your child’s dreams; the next step is to get your child involved and help him pack it to offset the load. Here are some tips, straight from The American Occupational Therapy Association:

  • Utilize different compartments and pockets to distribute weight
  • Heavier items in the front of the backpack
  • Lighter items in the front of the backpack
  • Sharp items away from the back

Make sure the backpack is no more than 10 to 15 % of your child’s weight.


  1. Stay involved

Injury prevention is an all-year affair. Instruct your little one to pick up the backpack by bending and lifting in the knees instead of the waist and watch for warning signs of a heavy backpack:

  • Difficulty when putting on or taking off the backpack
  • Pain when wearing the backpack
  • Tingling or numbness in the arms or legs
  • Red strap marks over the anterior part of the shoulders
  • Any change in side to side posture while wearing the backpack

Now all your child needs is a matching lunch box and we can definitely help you with that.