Why should you consider a rolling backpack for your school age children? More than ten years ago, nearly 3,500 children were treated in emergency rooms for injuries related to backpacks, (Consumer Products Safety Commission 1999). That figure has not deceased; in 2001, there were more than seven thousand (7,000) ER visits.
Orthopedic surgeons are encouraging parents to limit the weight carried in backpacks to no more than 10% to 20% of the child’s body weight. With the heavy load of school books that are now required by schools for children of all ages, it only makes sense to be able to pull your book backpack rather than carry it and put unnecessary stress on soft, growing bones.
Backpack weight has become an increasing problem with studies by the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) showing that heavy backpacks are the rolling backpack cause for both poor posture, and back pain. Many times, the backpack is stuffed full, creating a pack weighing more than 25% of the child’s weight. Let’s see – if you were a 200 pound man – that would be like adding an extra 50 pounds on one or across both shoulders.
Fortunately, backpacks have been radically redesigned in the last few years. Many are designed to be ergonomic practical while still remaining fashionable. Our children carry not only their heavy school books, but many also carry band instruments and/or running shoes plus the very popular electronics. You know, the required laptop, cell phone, and MP3 players; so the rolling backpack must be designed with special pockets for all the little things that are to be carried. It is much better to see a bulging wheeled backpack than one hanging on the back of a youngster.
When shopping for a rolling backpack, you should look for a strong frame with sturdy wheels; the pack itself should have an opening large enough for easy loading and unloading, with multiple pockets, a retractable handle and straps that are easily folded out of the way. Don’t forget water bottle pocket(s) for the all important hydrating liquid. The wheels should be nice and sturdy and placed on the four corners or the popular type of inline skate-style wheels. Think about the terrain over which the pack will be pulled.
There should be some padding and wide shoulder straps so when the load is light, your child can carry the backpack. The material of which the pack is made should be fairly light but made from something that is extremely durable. So, you will be looking at a heavy-duty polyester or ballistic nylon. There is a great variety of rolling book bags so choose one that is the right look for a student – not one that looks like an adult’s.
The bottom line is this: from the youngest to the oldest, it is a good idea to switch your children’s carrying habits to a rolling backpack.