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6 Essentials for a super kids’ backpack

Kim Grundy is a mom, writer, expert laundry folder and sandwich maker, not necessarily in that order. Raised in Oklahoma, she is now a West Coast gal and lives in California with her husband and two sons, along with one dog, two fish (oo...

Kids' backpack must-haves

Be prepared this school year by keeping your kids’ backpack stocked up with these 6 essential items. These backpack must-haves will keep your child happy and healthy until the bell rings.

Girl with backapck

1Hand sanitizers

Keep a small bottle of liquid hand sanitizer in your child's backpack for use between classes or before he eats a snack or lunch.

"Hand sanitizers are very effective at killing bacteria and it's less messy and easier than soap and water," says Susan Lane, RN, BSN, MSN-ED of JustAnswer.com. She says that even though hand sanitizers don't remove dirt and other contaminants, they do work well in killing germs on the hands. What about the antimicrobial wipes and moist towelettes? She says they are not as effective as the liquid hand sanitizer.

2Bottle of water

Have your child pick out a fun BPA-free water bottle to pack in their backpack. "The chances of our kids reaching for sodas and sugary drinks they have handy at school are high, [so] buy them a really fun water bottle and send them in with a full bottle of water," says certified holistic health coach Ondrea Lynn, who stresses the importance of keeping kids hydrated at school.

3Small packet of tissues

Once cold and flu season rolls around, it is smart to keep a small packet of tissues in your child's bag. They are handy to keep runny noses at bay, and are an ideal way to keep germs from spreading during coughing and sneezing.

4Paper organizer

Keep your child's papers and projects organized by using a 3-ring binder or a folder with pockets. Trapper Keeper has updated their folders with a color coding system for each class that will keep your child organized and ready to learn. Look for an organizer that contains a small notepad included for jotting down notes and homework assignments.

5Pencils

A supply of pencils is a necessity for school. Help your child ace that test by keeping her backpack stocked with pencils contained in a pencil box and a small pencil sharpener. Younger kids will love pencils that are printed with their favorite character or design.

Mechanical pencils are a great choice for school kids because you don't have to worry about them breaking. Today's always-sharp pencils write smoothly and erase easily.

6In case of emergency form

For younger kids or children with medical issues, such as diabetes or asthma, a Medical Emergency Form or Contact Form is an essential item for the backpack.

The contact form should contain:

  • Parent's names
  • Parent's home, work and mobile telephone numbers
  • Child's name
  • Child's school name and address
  • Child's teacher's name
  • Allergies
  • Medical information: For example, diabetic
  • Name of hospital
  • Hospital telephone number

As many kids have the same backpack and many look alike, make sure you write your child's name on or inside the backpack.

Backpack advice

How to pick the right backpack

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

More backpack tips

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