How to Buy a Backpack

imagesChildren and young adults from elementary school to collage are using backpacks to carry their school materials to and from classes.  Backpacks are convenient and come in very different styles and sizes.  Prices for backpacks can vary greatly depending on the size, material, manufacturer and quality.  You need to research the type best suited to your child’s needs.

The size of the child should be considered when buying a backpack.  You do not want something too large for a small child to handle.  When measuring your child for a backpack use the height of his torso not his total height.   To get this measurement measure from the top of his hip bone up to the base of his neck where there is a bump from a bone.  If you are buying a backpack with a hip belt you will need to know the measurement around the top of your child’s  hipbones.  Parents need to be aware of the weight their children are packing into their backpack since a too heavy load may cause back pain.  Ideally, the backpack should not weight more than 15 percent of the child’s weight.  For example, a 100 pound child’s filled backpack should weigh no more than 15 pounds when fully loaded.

A backpack needs to be able to provide safe storage and easy access to the material it contains.  A good sturdy zipper is important.  You need one that does not snag and is easy to zip.  The backpack should be resistant to water to help keep the materials inside dry.  There should be several compartments to organize items and  ideally it should be able to handle the child’s lunch container as well as his books and papers.  The backpack needs to be comfortable for the child to use.  Look for a warranty that will cover any manufacturers defects in the backpack.  Usually the warranties will not cover normal wear and tear of the bag.

Backpacks are available with wheels, but you need to check with your child’s school to see if wheeled backpacks are allowed.  It’s  also a good idea to check with the school to see what items your child will be required to carry since this will help you decide on a necessary size.

Older students will use their backpacks to transport their laptops as well as all the other material needed for high school or collage.  Their backpacks will naturally be the larger ones, but they too should be careful of the weight if they are planning to carry their backpack.