The September issue of family life magazine took a look at children and the backpacks they were carrying. Children these days are carrying more supplies and heavier books than in the past.
The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons recommends that a child's backpack should be no more than 10-15 percent of his/her body weight.
At particular risk are children in middle-school who need numerous supplies, but are not yet big enough to shoulder the weight of their "portable office."
Packs are fine when the right amount of weight is in it and they are worn properly. Shoulder straps should be worn over both arms. Tighten the straps so the pack is flush against the back and not hanging down. Choose one with cushioning on straps and on the portion that rests on your child's back. For children who can't avoid a heavy load, select a pack with a hip strap, so weight is distributed around hips and pelvis or consider a wheeled pack. Use both shoulder straps. Don't sling the backpack over just one shoulder.
Pack the heaviest items closer to your back. A backpack with compartments help children to pack better and distribute the weight more evenly.