How to Buy a School Bag That Will Last the Whole Year
Finding a durable, comfortable school bag that will last the entire year for your child can be more challenging than it sounds. Your child probably wants the coolest-looking one-strap shoulder bag, when a well-fitted, double-strap backpack would likely be the best option. Other features like outside pockets, durability, and price are also important considerations, so check out this guide to make sure you consider all the key factors before buying a school bag.
1. Choosing the design: backpack vs messenger
The big question when it comes to school bags is design. Older kids might prefer single-strap bags like one-strap backpacks and shoulder or messenger bags, but these should be avoided as they don’t distribute the weight of the bag evenly across the back. Carrying a heavy bag that’s poorly distributed can lead to a range of negative health outcomes. Poor posture and even spinal distortion (where the spine is misaligned) are some of the risks, as is muscle strain, headaches, and back pain. Neck pain and arm pain may also be common, as the back muscles and spine are forced to compensate for the unevenly distributed weight.
School kids usually have enough to carry, with heavy items like books, iPads and tablets, sports gear, and lunchboxes filling up their school bags, so it’s more important than ever to ensure even weight distribution. If your child insists on a shoulder bag, take time to explain why he or she will be thankful for their two-strap backpack when there’s a heavy load of things to carry home.
Check the bag won’t be too heavy once loaded. As a general rule, make sure your child doesn’t end up carrying more than 10% of his or her body weight.
2. Backpack sizing and fitting for children
Take time to make sure your child’s new school bag fits correctly. A too-large bag won’t evenly distribute the weight. Look for a bag that reaches from the base of the neck to the top of the hips. Correct fit is important, so you’ll probably want to shop in store rather than buy online.
3. Wearing waist straps
Bags with waist straps are better for healthy backs. A backpack with waist straps, ideally padded for extra comfort, allows your child to bring the weight close to the body and distribute the load evenly. Don’t forget to show your child how to use the waist straps though, since unused waist straps won’t do much good.
4. The advantage of padded shoulder straps
Padded shoulder straps ease pressure on the shoulders and improve comfort when your child has a heavier load to carry home. Also to look out for are backpacks with padded backs. Padding in the back creates a barrier against sharp items like book edges to protect your child’s back.
5. Durability and warranty
A quality backpack could last your child years, though younger children going through growth spurts will probably need their backpack replaced every year. Finding the right balance between your budget and a quality backpack that will last at least a year is a good approach, but as your child reaches the later teen years, you’ll probably find yourself making a bigger investment on a high-quality backpack. Ask about the warranty length and conditions to make sure you can have the bag replaced if it wears out quickly after purchase.
Nylon, and vinyl or canvas are recommended for their durability and weight. It’s best to stay away from leather for school bags as it’s a heavier material that will add to your child’s load, not relieve it. Carefully check the bag and look for strong stitching as well as quality fabric and materials like zippers and clips.
7. Reflective strips for visibility
For extra safety when your child’s walking home or out and about, look for brightly coloured backpacks or ones with safety reflective strips. These strips or patches can make your child more visible whether they’re cycling or walking on the road. If you can’t find a suitable bag with strips or in a bright colour, you can add your own safety reflective strips and tags.
8. Pockets and organisation
Consider what your child will be carrying and make sure the backpack has the right compartments, interior and exterior pockets, and amount of space to match the carrying needs. Ensure everything will be easy to organise and find in the backpack.
9. Checking the fit
Test out the backpack to see your child can easily put it on, on a flat surface, at waist height. The sizing should allow your child to slip the backpack on one shoulder at a time without needing help and without straining. Your child should be able to adjust the straps if necessary.
10. Packing it correctly
Check the backpack design to make sure you can pack the heaviest objects closest to your child’s body as this can reduce the risk of back strain. Bumpy, sharp, and oddly shaped items should ideally be packed away from the body, for maximum comfort.
Whether your child’s a primary-schooler or a teenager, a well-fitted backpack can help your child with the best possible start to a new school year. Choose a backpack with strong, padded double straps for even distribution of weight, and make sure it’s fitted properly for your child’s body size. Look for a durable product, and your child will be able to comfortably use the backpack for at least the coming year.
Marketplace Gungahlin is a modern shopping centre with an eclectic mix of retailers. To find a great school bag for your child, we have a range of retailers such as Lowes, Strandbags, Kmart, and FSW Shoes who can help you out.