According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission, approximately 3,400 children were treated in emergency rooms in 1999 for injuries related to backpacks. Many orthopaedic surgeons will tell parents to limit backpack weight to 20% of their body weight to prevent injuries. Many parents are considering the new wheeled backpacks. Before you invest in one of the new rolling backpacks, here are some things to consider.
School RulesParents should be considerate of the rules of their children's schools concerning the size and type of backpacks permitted. Some schools prohibit rolling bags as a tripping hazard. Of course, rules can always be changed, but you should know whether your school allows the rolling backpacks. Check with your principal or school secretary if there is any question.
Balance the LoadCheck the load rating for the rolling backpack you are thinking about. Generally, the older the student, the heavier the books and the more gadgets they have in their backpack. Make sure that you are buying a pack that will meet your student's needs.
Get the LookWith all the varieties of rolling book bags at various retailers, your students will want to make sure the bag has an acceptable "look." You probably want to avoid one that looks like an adult's carry-on luggage bag.
ErgonomicsStudents have often found that even though a backpack has wheels, it may occasionally be carried also. This is especially true in crowded hallways. Make sure the straps are padded and wide. The backpack should ride about 2 inches above the student's waist. Also, make sure the handle is long enough for the student to walk upright when pulling it.
Consider the TerrainRolling backpacks have limitations. While they work well on sidewalks and pavement, they can be a problem in snow, or if used while walking across a field or vacant lot. Sometimes they are also a little difficult when negotiating the narrow aisles of a school bus. Think through the route to school and see if a rolling backpack makes sense.