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Dos and don'ts for backpacks

Mary Fetzer is a freelance writer and marketing consultant with a marketing degree from Penn State University and 15 years of international business experience. Mary specializes in writing about parenting, children, pregnancy, college, h...

To pack
or not to pack

Backpacks come in all shapes, colors and sizes, with and without wheels, in double-strap and cross-body styles. Kids can express their individuality with the backpack’s exterior, but what’s inside remains rather consistent for all kids. Here are 10 things every kid should carry in his backpack, and five no-nos to avoid.

5 Things children shouldn't carry in their backpacks

The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons provides weight limit recommendations for school backpacks to keep your child's back healthy, so eliminate as much as possible.


Old stuff

As a professional organizer and mom of two, Grace Brooke offers her No. 1 rule for backpacks: Don't use them for storage! Empty backpacks daily before test papers, assignments and reference materials pile up.


Time-sensitive materials

Here's another reason to check backpacks every day: Most schools communicate with parents via take-home correspondence. It's your responsibility to read and respond to these messages, so make sure they don't get lost in a backpack.


Potential weapons

Of course, your child doesn't take knives to school, but what about everyday household objects? Regularly inspect your child's backpack for potential contraband, such as nail files, yo-yos and pocket chains.



With luck, kids are so busy learning that they don't have time for MP3 players or handheld games. Not only are electronics a distraction from the learning environment, but they're also easily broken, lost and stolen.


Swap items

Kids trade everything from Pokemon cards to shaped plastic bracelets. Since they're such a distraction in the classroom, some schools ban swap activities. Keep your kid out of trouble by keeping swap items out of her backpack.

Related video

Back-to-school tips: Picking the right backpack, from an expert at Packard Children's Hospital

Michelle Merget, OT, provides valuable advice to families choosing a new backpack. Thick straps, lumbar support and avoidance of overpacking are just a few of her tips to help keep backs healthy during the school year.

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