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Before You Buy Your Child's Backpack

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Children are often requested to carry a backpack to daycare or school so that personal items, work and projects can be safely carried to and from home. What should parents look for when making a purchasing decision about their child's backpack?

Check With Your Child's Provider First

Resist the temptation to purchase the biggest, boldest, character-crazed, or rolling style backpack until you determine the guidelines of your child's care provider. Often, lockers or storage spaces will only accommodate backpacks of certain sizes. Some of the wider rolling-style backpacks will not fit into individual lockers. Other providers have requirements such as colors or styles for consistency. Finding out the requirements first may help prevent a return trip to the store later.

Determine What Size Is Needed

Keep your child's size in mind when selecting a backpack for child care or school. Unless you want to be the one lugging your child's backpack every day, you should be sensitive to your child's size and age. If your child only needs to carry a change of clothes, folder, and a few projects, then you don't need a multi-compartment model. Be sure the shoulders will adjust to the size of your child and that he can put it on an off by himself.

Consider Ergonomic Designs

Carrying an ill-fitting backpack to and from school or child care each day can cause painful back and neck injuries for children. Over 40 million children of various ages carry a backpack each day. What should you look for to ensure your selection is right for your child?

How Long Should It Last?

Are your expectations for your child's backpack to last only through a single school year or for the entire elementary or secondary grades? Consider then whether you want your child's pack to be made of materials such as vinyl, plastic, nylon, or leather. If your child is of the age that she wants to carry Disney Princesses one year and then Powerpuff the next, that should influence your buying choice. But, if you want the pack to last, look for signs of quality.

Style, Comfort or Cute?

Does your child want the latest cartoon character, a color to match the school's theme, or the new "see-through" styles? Backpacks can be found in an endless array of style and design choices.

Straps, Sling or Roll?

While the debate continues about the merit of a rolling backpack vs. the traditional strap variety, the sling and messenger styles are growing in popularity with older kids.

Backpack Fun With A Purpose

Vacations, sport activities, and even field trips offer backpack alternatives beyond what kids take to school or childcare. The camelback designs provide a solution to thirsty kids, and some backpacks or travel packs come with activities for children. Don't forget about looking over sports duffle or gym bag options as well.

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