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How to Choose a Good Backpack for School? 5 Key Points to Remember

Did you know that numerous studies have shown that carrying backpacks can impact the musculoskeletal health of children? Indeed, research has revealed that carrying heavy backpacks can be associated with back pain in children. My name is Joanie, and as a teacher dedicated to the health and well-being of my students, I am aware of the crucial importance of this seemingly trivial accessory. That’s why today I am presenting my top tips for choosing the right backpack for school.

Criteria for Choosing a Good Backpack

Ergonomics and Support

When looking for a backpack for your child, ergonomics and support are essential criteria to consider. First, make sure the backpack offers adequate back padding. This padding helps distribute the weight of the backpack evenly across the child’s back, reducing pressure on the shoulders and spine. A school bag with back padding also provides a better sense of comfort. Additionally, an adjustable chest strap is another important feature. This strap stabilizes the backpack, preventing it from tilting excessively forward or to the side when the child moves. As for the shoulder straps, they should be adjustable and padded at the top of the shoulders. Experts recommend that the width of the shoulder straps be 5 cm.

By combining appropriate padding with an adjustable chest strap, you provide your child with optimal back support. This will prevent poor posture while ensuring comfort throughout the school day.

Safety and Visibility

Choose models with reflective elements, such as strips or patterns, to ensure better visibility when walking or biking to school. These reflective details increase the child’s visibility, especially in low light or dark conditions (such as after school in winter), thereby contributing to their safety on the way to school.

How to Properly Adjust the Backpack?

Optimal Use of Compartments

To properly adjust your child’s backpack, it’s essential to understand the correct use of the compartments. According to the Quebec Association of Chiropractors, a child should never carry more than 10% of their body weight on their back.

  • Teach your child to distribute the contents of their school backpack evenly, placing the heaviest items close to the back and lighter or irregularly shaped items towards the front. This will help distribute the weight evenly across the child’s back, reducing pressure on the shoulders and back, which can lead to poor posture.
  • Encourage them to bring only the essentials needed for homework and lessons at home. It’s good to have a set of pencils and erasers at home so your child doesn’t have to carry these items between home and school.
  • Regularly clean out the school backpack to remove unnecessary items. It’s always a good idea!
  • The lunch box should not be inside the backpack.
  • For the water bottle, consider using an empty bottle that your child can fill once at school. This is a good option to lighten the school bag and also prevents water spills on school materials upon arrival in class.

Health and Injury Prevention

Signs to Watch For

I strongly advise you to closely monitor signs indicating that your child’s school backpack is inappropriate or improperly adjusted. This is crucial to prevent potential injuries. Pay attention to your child’s complaints of shoulder, back, or neck pain. This could indicate that the backpack does not provide adequate support or is too heavy. Red marks on the shoulders or areas of skin irritation can also signal an incorrect fit.

However, do not rely solely on the absence of complaints to conclude that everything is fine. Since children’s bodies are often capable of adapting, they may not immediately show signs of discomfort such as shoulder tension. Consequently, the effects of an ill-fitting backpack may only appear years later, even in adulthood. Therefore, it is essential to ensure that your child’s backpack size, fit, and weight are appropriate before the start of each school year.

Practical and Aesthetic Choices

Durability and Environment

In addition to comfort and ergonomics, durability and environmental impact play a crucial role. Opting for a quality, durable backpack not only ensures its longevity but also reduces excessive consumption by favoring products designed to last. Another tip I can give you is to choose a model made of sturdy, thick fabric. It should be designed to withstand recess. Children tend to be tough on their backpacks.

By prioritizing durable, high-quality backpacks, you encourage sustainability values in children while providing them with a practical and aesthetic accessory for their daily school life.

Don’t forget to properly identify the backpack with Colle à moi’s bag tag! Your child will be able to recognize it quickly and easily in class and on the schoolyard. It’s also available in school label combo.

bagpack for school

My Suggestions

To make finding the perfect backpack easier, here are some recommended brands and stores where you can start your search:

choose school bagpack

Sacs Lavoie

I recommend two interesting models from Sacs Lavoie: the Chic-choc, ideal for children from elementary school to university, and the Intro, perfect for kindergarten and first-grade children as it is smaller. What’s fantastic is that their bags and pencil cases are made right here in Quebec, making it my favorite brand!

how to choose school bag

Louis Garneau

Louis Garneau backpacks are available in several stores in Quebec, such as Clément or Yellow. Their children’s backpacks always have padded backs with waist and chest straps. It’s also approved by the Quebec Association of Chiropractors!

best schoolbag for kids

Rising Sun

This brand, available at Clément, manufactures their backpacks in an environmentally friendly and sustainable way using recycled bottles. Their backpacks also feature a padded back and waist and chest straps. You can even get the complete set, including the lunch box and pencil case in the same design.


Sports Expert

This store offers a variety of quality children’s school backpack brands. Among others, they carry brands like Jansport, McKinley, Louis Garneau, and more.


In conclusion, choosing a good backpack for your child is essential for their musculoskeletal health and overall well-being. By prioritizing criteria such as comfort, ergonomics, safety, and durability, you contribute to promoting good posture and preventing injuries related to wearing an inappropriate backpack. Make sure to determine the ideal size of the backpack based on your child’s body size. It’s also important to follow smart adjustment tips to ensure comfortable and safe wearing.

Joanie Simard, 2nd-grade teacher, mother of 5 children, and creator of educational materials.

“Colle à moi products have been incredibly helpful in my daily life. Everything is labeled in my classroom and at home. Since 2017, I’ve been creating educational materials for teachers, all available in my online store Univers Merveilleux and my Facebook page.”

As a teacher and mom, I understand your needs for your children’s homework. Follow me on Instagram so you don’t miss my Univers Merveilleux for Parents capsules every Friday!

How to Choose a Good Backpack for School?