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 In Sway Guides

Remember when all the popular kids wore their backpack on one shoulder? Look how stooped they are now. See? Nerds always win — unless you carried a tuba. Then you’re probably screwed.

FirstHealth physical therapist Kathy Holder sees more problems from backpacks than you’d think. She wants to tell you how to pick the right one.

1. Size is everything. A kid will usually have three different size backpacks over their school career.

2. Get thick, padded straps. Those with curves help spread the weight evenly.

3. Lose extra notebooks. Know exactly what they’ll need at school each day so they aren’t bogged down with unnecessary weight. Help them clean out their backpack, so you can find all those charming notes from the principal.

4. Don’t be a pack mule. If they need a bag for books and one for sports, carry one on your back and one by hand.

5. Think about balance. If they’re right handed, put their water bottle on the left because they’ll be opening doors (and other activities) with their right hand.

6. Look for more support. A backpack with a waist strap distributes weight more evenly, and your kid will be ahead of the next trend. We promise.

If all this is too much to take in, Kathy says you should just buy a North Face bag, which is made for long hikes and usually checks off all her boxes. You’re welcome.

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