Consumer Reports: Getting the right backpack

CHARLESTON, SC – When choosing a backpack, most important thing is fit. Look for straps that are wide, padded and contoured. The top of the shoulder straps should sit one or two inches below the shoulders.

You want the bottom of the pack to rest in the small of your back –– never more than four inches below the waistline. Also look for a backpack with a good, padded waist belt.

If a backpack has the right features and it fits properly, then a good one will distribute the weight more evenly on your body and take pressure off of your back and shoulders.

Another important step to preventing injury is be careful how much your child carries. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends students carry no more than 10 to 20 percent of their own body weight in a backpack. Reflective trim can also be important, particularly if your child walks to school.

Consumer Reports has tested backpack durability extensively over the years –– lifting, lowering and tumbling them. If you’re in a store and want an idea of how well made a bag is, take a peek inside. If you see things like loose threads, or sloppy stitching, raw, unfinished edges, it’s usually a sure sign that the bag wasn’t made well.

Complete Ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars & trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reports’ website. Subscribe to ConsumerReports.org.

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