Things That Shouldn’t Exist #2
Some things shouldn’t exist. This is one of them.
1.) See that handle that extends? That basically screams at children, “Swing me around!”
2.) Young children, developmentally, struggle to understand a world outside of their immediate body. Asking them to safely and responsibly trail something that is big and bulky 3 feet behind them is basically an impossible task. They are constantly whacking into people and things as they move through the hallways.
3.) The children constantly lose them. Unlike a traditional backpack which is on your body, whose weight you feel and the absence of is noticeable, and which takes a concerted effort to remove, a kid can detach from his rolling backpack simply by opening his hand for a moment and is usually long gone by the time he realizes.
I understand that these backpacks initially arose because of concerns about the weight of traditional backpacks on developing bodies, particularly the spine and back. However, unless the child is drastically undersized, they should not be carrying a backpack heavy enough to do any damage. If they are, they’ve got too much crap in it. Unfortunately, this has become the reality for many children. Some of this is on schools. Elementary students shouldn’t be lugging around multiple textbooks, binders, and notebooks. If they are, there is something wrong with the curriculum. Some of this is on parents. Backpacks need not be adorned with every Angry Bird keychain imaginable. Its primary purpose is to transport items to and from school. If you are allowing your child to be weighed down with 5 pounds of accessories, you’re doing it wrong.
So, if you are in the market for a backpack for your young child, I beg you to get them a traditional backpack. If they are so laden with school materials that it is causing them physical harm, talk to the teacher. A child’s backpack shouldn’t weigh more than 10% of their body weight. For elementary-aged children, that means somewhere in the range of 5-8 pounds. A child that young shouldn’t need to carry more than 5-8 pounds of things to and from school. And if they are, something else is wrong. It’s not the backpack.
(There are exceptions to this. As noted, some children might be significantly undersized for their grade, making necessary something other than a traditional backpack. So, perhaps these should exist, but in far smaller quantities than they actually do.)