Is your child's backpack heavy enough to cause them long-term pain?

Should weigh no more than 10% of total body weight
Posted at 11:57 AM, Jul 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-27 12:04:08-04

TAMPA  - What your child carries around in his or her backpack helps them learn, but it also could be setting them up for a life full of pain.

Healthcare officials are becoming increasingly concerned that heavy backpacks could have them hurting now and later in life. Physical therapists say kids with back problems are more likely to become adults with back problems.

A BioMed study done last year showed that backpacks weighing more than 10% of your child's body weight could be painful.

Professional Organizer Suzanna Kaye with "A Space that Works" had these suggestions to help compress and condense what is in your child's backpack:


  • Changing from textbooks to digital textbooks and carrying a reader (iPad, nook, etc.) instead.  Check with teacher to see if applicable
  • Bringing only the books for that class with you – leave others in locker or home
  • Ask the teacher if the textbook is needed during class or if it can be left at home for study


  • Using a rolling backpack
  • Always use both straps, never just one
  • Pack heavy items like textbooks closest to body