Is your child's backpack a health risk?

boy walking with backpack

Photo by Austin Nicomedez on Unsplash


Status: Accepting submissions

Eligibility: Parents and guardians of school-aged children, students

Type: Survey

Time Required: ~15 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Full results published: Fall, 2019

Take this survey to generate your personalized backpack risk assessment. We'll also email you a complete report of our findings, including a Comparison Report detailing how your responses align with the overall results.

Why it's important

School age children make more than 14,000 backpack related office or emergency room visits in the United States every year. An overloaded backpack changes how kids walk and stand. These changes in bio-mechanics put strain on the neck, shoulders, back and hips which can cause numbness and lead to injury.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends maximum weights for kids' school backpacks but multiple studies show that many students exceed those recommendations. One study also found that almost no parents weight their kid's backpacks.

Many schools are removing individual lockers and many new high schools are being built without lockers, leaving more students to carry their full packs with them throughout the school day.

Take the survey and learn if your child's backpack weighs too much and how it compares with other kids in their grade and weight range.


Pre-survey suggestions

Inventory of items:

  • Once the backpack is packed, take a quick inventory of the types of items in the backpack. Check all compartments.

To quickly measure the backpack's weight and also the body weight of the child:

  • Set a step-on scale by the front door.
  • Have the child step on it with their backpack just before they leave for school. Note the combined weight.
  • Ask them to set down their backpack.
  • Once the backpack is on the floor, note the child's weight. Subtract.

To determine how the backpack is carried:

  • Watch your child when they head off for school. Are they using two shoulder straps, just one, or perhaps they're carrying the backpack by the grab loop?
  • Also take note of how low the bottom of the backpack extends past their waist.

Backpack risk assessment survey

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