Back to school backpacks are an essential item on any parent’s shopping list at this time of year. Although there are many, many choices in our local stores, all backpacks are not created equal! If you want to get one that’s safe and healthy, and will last as long as you need it to, then here are a few things you should bear in mind.
Protecting Your Child’s Health
When your children are checking out new backpacks, they are probably not thinking about how it will fit or feel on their back. They’re usually more concerned about how cool it is, and whether their friends will like it. You are the one who will have to make sure the backpack is sufficiently cool looking, but also will protect your child when carrying heavy books and items every day.
An item that is used as often as a back to school backpack should be carefully chosen so that there is no danger of injury to the child’s back due to weight, material or size. Select a backpack with wide, padded shoulder straps that will not injure the shoulders.
Insist on chest and waist straps so the weight of the backpack will be evenly distributed. Multiple compartments can also help distribute the weight. If your child will be walking with their backpack at night, make sure there is at least a large strip of reflective material so the child can be seen in the dark by an oncoming car.
Finding A Durable Option
A durable back to school backpack can be very expensive. But you don’t have to break the bank to find a durable backpack that will withstand the use and abuse that its owners will visit upon it every day at school.
First, consider the primary material the backpack is made of. Something like nylon or canvas that is durable, but lightweight, would be especially appropriate. Leather, plastic and vinyl are not as appropriate. Leather is too heavy, and vinyl or plastic will not wear well. The color of the bag is also important as this bag is going to get dirty no matter how hard you try to avoid it!
Next, check the zippers and other fasteners. Metal zippers are far superior to plastic ones and will last a lot longer. Make sure it’s securely sewn onto the bag and that it’ll be easy for your child to access. Velcro is a popular option for the younger kids, though it doesn’t usually hold up as well as a zipper. The advantage to Velcro is that your child is unlikely to pinch a finger as might happen with a metal zipper.
Lastly, check the stitching all around back to school backpacks. Do the seams appear sturdy enough to withstand heavy loads? Look for bags with seams that have been double sewn, and be especially careful to make sure the straps are well attached, as they will be taking the brunt of the load.