back to school

More than 70% of Australian school children can suffer back and neck pain from school bags

With the return of school, it’s important to make sure that your child has a safe backpack for the year ahead. Stress put on the spine can cause them to lean too far forward, causing distortion of the natural spine & rolling of their shoulders.

At Peninsula Sports Medicine Group, we recommend the following tips when selecting a backpack so that your child can have a pain free year:

Key features when purchasing a backpack:

  • Wide shoulder straps that are comfortable and sit well on the
  • Waist and chest straps to help transfer some of the load to hips and
  • A padded back support that allows the pack to fit ‘snugly’ on the back and protect from being poked by sharp edges on objects such as pencils, rulers, or
  • Have multiple compartments to distribute the load and prevent it from
  • Check for a backpack which carries an endorsement from a professional health


Fitting of the backpack:

  • The top of the backpack should not be more than 3cm higher than the shoulders so that the child can look up at the ceiling without hitting
  • The bottom of the bag should be slightly lower than the
  • If you child’s bag has a waist strap, it should wrap around the body just below the This allows some of the bags weight to be taken by the hips, reducing the load on the back and shoulders.
  • If the bag contains a chest strap, this should be positioned 6cm below the
  • When sitting with the backpack on, the pack should not extend higher than the child’s


Considerations with use:

  • A child should not be carrying more than 10% of their body
  • Keep the load close to the spine – pack the heaviest items nearest your child’s
  • A child must wear both straps at all times in order to distribute weight evenly across both shoulders, rather than put the strain on
  • Always wear the waist
  • Encourage your child to be organised when packing their school bag to ensure they are only carrying what they


To get your child’s backpack fitted properly and to speak with a Physiotherapist contact your local clinic

PH: 03 9789 1233