As summer draws to an end and you are heading out with the kids to buy new school supplies, it is important to stop and think about the proper fit of a back pack. A back pack that is too heavy can cause a child to lean forward or to the side to offset the weight. This leads to abnormal pressures on the spine and soft tissues and can cause pain and strain. Experts recommend that the loaded back pack weigh a maximum of 15% of the child’s body weight. Just as important as weight, is the distribution of that weight across the body. Both shoulder straps should be worn at all times to promote even distribution and promote an upright posture. A waist strap can also provide support for this. It is also helpful if the back pack is padded to provide a layer of protection to the spine to avoid the contents digging in to the child’s back and causing pain. If your child complains of pain in the arms or back, numbness or tingling in the arms, or if there are red marks from their shoulder straps, it could be a sign that the back pack is not fit properly or is too heavy for your child. Have a safe and happy return to school!