How Heavy is Your Kid’s Backpack?

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(Via Giphy)

It’s the start of a bright new school year, and our kids are packing up their exciting new textbooks and shining up their first day of school outfits and heading off to learn about geography and math and history (and hopefully, depending on the age of your child and your state’s position on sex education, at least a couple lessons in “How is babby formed?”). But as our kids are leaving for school I remember my own academic past and one question sticks out: How heavy is your kid’s school bag?

When I see kids queuing up for the bus in my neighborhood, they look like little turtles with their giant backpacks. It’s not just the teenagers, either. Even the little kids are loaded down with enormous packs.

I always had a backpack in school, but in seventh grade it got crazy. For me, that’s when homework stopped being handouts and folders and started being textbooks, and text books started to be giant, hardcover affairs, not the floppy little workbooks I carried before that. Books are enormously heavy for their size and shape, and kids have to carry many of them from home to school and class to class and then home again.

If I had homework for French, math, history, and English, that’s four giant textbooks at the minimum, and on a normal day there would also be science, religion, econ, and whatever else I was taking at the time.

According to the New York Times, heavy backpacks can cause back pain in young kids, especially if the kids wear them on one shoulder instead of two, or have to go up and down stairs a lot during the day. The AAP recommends that kids not carry more than 10-20 percent of their body weight, with a strong preference towards the 10-percent end of the scale, but that tends to fly out the window when everyone has homework to assign.

The weight of school bags seems like a thing that parents have been worrying about for generations. My parents were aghast at the size of mine and were constantly worried I was doing serious damage to my back by walking around with something that heavy strapped to me all day. My mother once weighed my backpack and it came in at 30 pounds, which is more than my actual child weighs now.

That was 20 years ago, and even with all our technological advances since then, it seems like the heavy backpack issue is getting worse, not better. How heavy is your kid’s backpack? If you’ve figured out any life hacks to help manage the situation, let us know in the comments, because this is getting ridiculous.