I’ve bought many school backpacks, messenger bags, totebags and book bags over the years. I’ve purchased from a variety of retailers. I’ve tired a variety of products. For the most user-friendly school book bag, the backpack is safer and better than the messenger bag. What is a messenger bag and how does it differ from a backpack? A messenger bag style book bag has on long over-the shoulder strap that can be worn across the chest or simply hanging like a purse from one shoulder. A backpack has to straps that fit securely over both shoulders and distribute weight evenly across the back. Students who carry books in a messenger bag tend to walk in a lopsided manner because all the weight depends from one side of the body. This is dangerous for spinal development, postural health and muscular growth. Carrying school supplies in a backpack balances the weight and makes it feel far less cumbersome and uncomfortable to carry.
Students must carry a large variety of items to school daily. Some carry a lap top, notebook or netbook computer which quite heavy. They may carry a lunch kit, water bottle, binder notebook with pencils, folders notebooks and supplies, gym shoes and clothing, textbooks, Ipod, cell phone, projects and more. Choose a backpack that is roomy enough to hold all the items your student will need for school. But encourage her to limit what she takes in her backpack and purge her backpack occasionally. As a teacher, I’ve seen an alarming variety of unusual (and unsanitary) objects accumulate in a backpack. The less she has to lug to school, around school and home from school the better for her overall health.
Jansport, Eastpak and Columbia are major backpack manufacturers and each makes a quality product. Most store carry off brand backpacks that are much less expensive and just as good. It’s the size and construction that matters with backpacks. Choose a backpack with padded shoulder straps and extra padding on the sides to cushion kidneys from shock and strain from a jostling backpack. Be sure that the shoulder straps are adjusted to sit directly on the student’s shoulders. This will protect the back from pain and strain. If a student carries a laptop, be sure that the backpack has a padded pocket for safe storage. Laptops are quite heavy and should only be taken to school if necessary. Typically students aren’t do not need a laptop for school as most schools have computer labs and classroom computers. Encourage your student to bring home only textbooks required for that evening’s homework. Students should not routinely lug extras texts home. For more on parenting, back-to-school shopping, health and school issues, visit my linked blogs.