It’s back to school for kids everywhere, which means time to stock up on school supplies. One thing your child is going to need is a backpack, but doctors say not all backpacks are created equal.

Dr. Wayne Johnson, an orthopedic surgeon at Comanche county memorial Hospital, says you should take in to account certain things when looking for a backpack, as well as how to wear them.

“Backpack straps should be about 2 inches wide. Widely spread across the child’s back,” Dr. Johnson said. “And essentially not use these straps on just one side of the shoulders.”

He also says they should be well padded and lightweight to take some of the stress off the child’s back.

“Putting too much weight in the backpack can predispose the child to spraining or straining their back,” Dr. Johnson said. “Or cause them to have numbness or tingling in their arms or legs.”

Changing out your books between classes from your locker, is a great way to avoid overloading your backpack. He says he frequently sees kids in his office complaining of back pain, that is usually linked to their backpack.

“You have some of the strongest muscles in your back, and you have ligaments that connect to bones to bones,” Dr. Johnson said. “So they can be injured from the increased weight of the backpack. 25 pounds on a child that’s 90 pounds in weight is too much.”

Parents can also be a big help in preventing these problems in the first place.

“Be actively involved, help your child pick out the backpack. Make sure that it’s not more than 15% of their bodyweight,” Dr. Johnson said. “And make sure you have a comfortable enough relationship with them so they can alert you if they have back pain.”