What's the big deal? Backpacks aren't exactly rocket science... or are they?
The big deal is basically that our shoulders weren't really designed for having things hanging on them. That is why you probably have experienced pain when doing so, and also why so many people carry things stacked on their heads. Ultimately stacking your stuff on your head would be a much better solution. However, that might be a far reach for a child going to elementary school with no practice of doing so (not to mention the "Hey look at me, I am doing something totally different then everyone else!" Good luck getting your kids to do that! But if you can, please share your mad skills with the rest of us. Email me, seriously.
So the big concern is that carrying too much weight or even a really bad fit of these packs can absolutely destroy your childs' alignment and with that, goes the posture, the spine, the joints, and in comes the hunch back, forward head and potential of pain and real injury later on. Children can even develop serious spinal injury and/or scoliosis from this horrible alignment.
Not sure what I mean, see image:
It is also critical to realize that if this was the only time your child was in a hunched over, forward head potion in the day it would not be as big of a deal. The REAL issue is that this position is the way many kids spend most of their time (see the Killer C's) or my blog post on sitting, and so loading that position with weight from these packs without proper fit, weight, size et. is just compounding the spine problem.
What to do? Take a look at the criteria we have outline and put in this downloadable printable and take it with you when shopping and add a copy to a place to remind your kids how to wear it.
Oh and please do share with anyone who has kids going back to school!