At the top of almost every back-to-school supply list is the backpack. It’s a convenient and practical way to carry books, pens, pencils, and other required school supplies while keeping hands free.

Students will demand attention on the school bus this year with the new 3D origami inspired  Spiketus Rex backpacks.

Headlining the collection are the Spiketus Rex Full Pack, Half Pack, and the Nibbler Lunch Box.  The Full Pack is built for storing books and guarding gear for students of all ages.  The Half Pack is perfect for preschoolers, and the Nibbler is ideal for stashing snacks and packing lunches.  Form meets function in each of these products; plus, with colors like Dinosaur Lime, Orange Peel, Purple People Eater, and Snake Bite.

Adjustable padded shoulder straps with joining ladder strap and breathable pack pads provide comfort between the backpack and body.  Two exterior zippered side pockets and an interior zippered pocket for keys, money, etc.

As helpful and fun as they are, backpacks can also cause pain and injury if not used properly. The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) estimates that about 55 percent of students are carrying backpacks heavier than the recommended guideline, leading to increased backpack-related incidents in recent years.

An Italian study found that the average child carries a backpack that is the equivalent of a 39-pound pack for a 176-pound man, or a 29-pound load for a 132-pound woman. Sixty percent of those children reported back pain.

What Can You Do?
The ACA offers the following tips to help prevent the needless pain that backpack misuse could cause the students in your household.

  • Make sure your child’s backpack weighs no more than 5 to 10 percent of his or her body weight. A heavier backpack will cause your child to bend forward in an attempt to support the weight on his or her back, rather than on the shoulders, by the straps.
  • The backpack should never hang more than four inches below the waistline. A backpack that hangs too low increases the weight on the shoulders, causing your child to lean forward when walking.
  • A backpack with individualized compartments helps in positioning the contents most effectively. Make sure that pointy or bulky objects are packed away from the area that will rest on your child’s back.
  • Bigger is not necessarily better. The more room there is in a backpack, the more your child will carry-and the heavier the backpack will be.
  • Urge your child to wear both shoulder straps. Lugging the backpack around by one strap can cause the disproportionate shift of weight to one side, leading to neck and muscle spasms, as well as low-back pain.
  • Wide, padded straps are very important. Non-padded straps are uncomfortable, and can dig into your child’s shoulders.
  • The shoulder straps should be adjustable so the backpack can be fitted to your child’s body. Straps that are too loose can cause the backpack to dangle uncomfortably and cause spinal misalignment and pain.
  • If the backpack is still too heavy, talk to your child’s teacher. Ask if your child could leave the heaviest books at school, and bring home only lighter hand-out materials or workbooks.
  • Although the use of rollerpacks – or backpacks on wheels – has become popular in recent years, the ACA is now recommending that they be used cautiously and on a limited basis by only those students who are not physically able to carry a backpack. Some school districts have begun banning the use of rollerpacks because they clutter hallways, resulting in dangerous trips and falls.