Backpacks are essential accessories that, sooner or later, parents will need to buy for their children. Choosing a children’s backpack is not as simple as it may seem. With so many options and types on the market, it can often be overwhelming for parents. Choosing a backpack for a child is a very important decision, not only because they will be used every day to go to school, but also because the child’s back may suffer if the incorrect product is chosen.

There are numerous designs, materials, and sizes of backpacks available on the market. When selecting a backpack, the child’s likes should be taken into account, as well as a model that does not jeopardize their well-being. In the following shopping guide, you will find tips and ideas for choosing the perfect kids’ backpack.

Key Facts

  • To prevent injuries, it is advisable to purchase a children’s backpack that is suitable for their height and age.
  • It is best if the backpack has a main compartment and a number of smaller ones to organize their belongings. The more, the better.
  • Choose a backpack model that is made of waterproof materials that are easy to clean, so you don’t have to worry about constant stains.

Ranking: The best backpack for kids on the U.S. market

We know that the task of choosing the best backpack for children is not an easy one since there are many options available. This is why we have prepared a list of the 5 best kids’ backpacks. Take a close look at the features of each product to identify the backpack that suits the day-to-day needs of your child.

No. 1: PUMA Boy’s Backpacks and Lunch Boxes

This classic backpack lunch box combo from PUMA will give your child everything they need to start the year right. Comfortable shoulder straps, an interior laptop sleeve, and an insulated lunchbox will have them navigating the new year with style and ease. The webbing shoulder straps on the backpack are adjustable and the main compartment features a two-way zip opening.

The traditional PUMA backpack has an elastic mesh pocket on the right-hand side that is perfect for transporting a water bottle or juice box. The backpack measures: 11″ x 15″ x 5″ and the lunchbox: 10″ x 8″ x 2″. For a perfect backpack to go back to school, take a close look at PUMA’s range of traditional backpacks.

No. 2: Skip Hop Toddler Backpack

Here we have the perfect backpack for toddlers to preschool or kindergarten students. This adorable backpack is just the right size for little kids and it features a mesh side pocket that adjusts to fit a juice box or water bottle. With extra pockets for pencils and other travel necessities, this friendly pack includes a write-on nametag and comfy padded straps for little shoulders.

Skip Hop was founded in 2003 and is based in New York City. Since its creation, Skip Hop has become one of the best-selling and most globally recognized brands for parents, babies, and kids. The roomy main compartment holds all the supplies that a preschooler may need and the durable, easy-to-clean lining ensures that this backpack will last for a long time.

No. 3: Preschool Backpack

The Vaschy Preschool Toddler Backpack is a great all-round traditional backpack that is recommended for kids aged 2-years and up. The backpack features adjustable padded shoulder straps that offer support and comfort while the adjustable chest strap keeps the backpack steady throughout the day’s activities.

This preschooler backpack is made from durable water-resistant polyester that is lightweight and easy to clean. The 14.6-inch backpack can easily fit a lunch bag, two small notebooks, two books, and a water bottle. For a comfortable backpack that looks good and will withstand the elements, choose the Vaschy Preschool Toddler Backpack.

No. 4: American Tourister Kids’ Disney Children’s Backpack

American Tourister is a brand with over 75 years of experience producing luggage and travel items for American families. American Tourister is the smart choice for you and your family as the products are always made from quality materials and well designed. The American Tourister Disney backpack is made from lightweight and durable material that is perfect for your little one to take to kindergarten or preschool.

With colorful graphics of your favorite Disney princess from the movie Frozen, or with Nemo or Dory from the Disney movie Finding Dory, this backpack is perfect for both boys and girls. The backpack features a side pocket for carrying a water bottle and a front pocket for organization. The dimensions of this backpack are 14 x 5 x 8 inches and it comes with an amazing 10-year warranty.

No. 5: Everest Luggage Basic Backpack

Everlast has had the goal and vision since 1982 of creating functional and stylish bags for daily adventures. The original Everest classic backpack is a lightweight and durable product that is the perfect bag for any elementary student and up. Drawing upon more than 30 years of experience, this backpack incorporates innovative design features that make it extra-comfortable and long-lasting.

The dimensions of this backpack are 11″ x 5″ x 15″ (LxWxH), which makes it the perfect mid-sized backpack for school and everyday use. Featuring a spacious main compartment with double zipper closure and a front zippered pocket for easy access, this backpack makes life easy. This backpack is available in a huge range of colors so that your child can pick the one that takes their fancy!

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about backpacks for kids

Kids’ backpacks are a useful and necessary accessory that will accompany your child almost every day. With this in mind, the choice of a backpack cannot be taken lightly. During their school years, a backpack will be the place where they store their food, toys, books and other objects. In the following section, we answer the most frequently asked questions from parents when it comes to purchasing a backpack for their kids.

As with children’s products, it is very important to ensure that backpacks comply with the specific legislation.
(Source: dolgachov: 65046490/ 123rf.com)

What kind of kids backpacks are there?

There are many different types of backpacks for children in terms of how they are carried. We will take a look at the most common ones so that you can make an informed decision about the model that best suits your child.

Traditional backpacks are those that are attached to the back and have two straps that hang over the shoulders. Ideally, these straps should be well padded. These are the most popular design due to their versatility and comfort.

Backpacks with wheels. They are models exactly the same as a traditional backpack, but with the difference that they have wheels on the bottom. The advantage of these backpacks is that the weight can be transferred to the wheels if the bag is overly heavy. However, these bags are not a suitable option if there are many stairs at the child’s school or on the way.

Shoulder bags. These models are often the favorites of teenagers, although younger ones also like them since they are seen as being “cool”. These models are recommended only if your child is not going to carry too much weight. Carrying a shoulder bag with excessive weight can produce back and shoulder problems for your child.

How do you determine the ideal size for your child’s backpack?

The size and capacity of a backpack is dependant on who its wearer is. For pre-school children, it is recommended that a backpack does not exceed 12-13 inches in height. If the backpack is bigger than these dimensions, it can be very uncomfortable for your child and difficult to handle.

To elaborate on backpack sizes for all children, consider the following information. For children between the ages of 2 and 3, the ideal size for a backpack is 10 inches high. If your child is between the ages of 3 and 4, the ideal backpack size is 11 inches. For children between 4 and 5 years old, the dimensions of a backpack can be increased to 13 inches. Children between the ages of 5 and 8 years old can comfortably wear a backpack that is up to 15 inches high. The following table summarises this information in an easy to read format:

Age of child Height of backpack
2 to 3 years old 10″
3 to 4 years old 11″
4 to 5 years old 13″
5 to 8 years old 15″

Are there any regulations for kids backpacks?

As with any other product for children, it is very important to ensure that the backpack complies with the specific legislation. In the USA, children’s’ backpacks are categorized as Children’s Products by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. As a result, all children’s backpacks that are either manufactured or sold in the U.S are subject to the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008. When reviewing a specific product that you think might be suitable for your child, make sure that it meets the criteria of the Act or states that it has the required safety approval.

A child’s backpack is an important accessory that will accompany them to many places.
(Source: Mark Bowden: 31066685/ 123rf.com)

At what age are kids backpacks useful?

Children’s backpacks become very important to all children as soon as they enter pre-school. This usually covers children aged 3 to 6 years old. At this age, children will start their school routine and, therefore, will need a backpack with which they will take with them every day.

During these first years of school, a child’s backpack will be very useful for storing a few toys, some snacks, a bottle of water, colored pencils or a change of clothes. Usually, at this age, a child will not need to carry anything that is excessively heavy, although it is still important to check that the backpack is comfortable and easy to handle.

What is the maximum weight a child can carry in their backpack?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions among parents. The answer to this question is quite simple: the maximum weight a child can carry will be directly related to the age and size of the child. Generally speaking, the weight of the backpack should not exceed 10 or 15% of the child’s weight. This is something that all parents should keep in mind, especially during the first years of school.

To give you more specific data, if the child weighs 44 lbs, it is advised that the backpack does not exceed 4.5 or 6.5 lbs. If the child weighs 66 lbs, they should not carry more than 9 lbs. This is a simple rule to keep in mind to avoid back problems for your child. Of course, the backpack must also be correctly positioned so that the weight is evenly distributed.

What should the straps and back support of a child’s backpack look like?

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, it is preferable that the backpack straps are wide and well-padded. With this, the load on the child’s shoulders will be better distributed. Equally important, the back of the backpack should also have some decent padding. Ideally, the backpack should rest at least 1 inch above the child’s waist.

For preschool children, the rules are the same. The key to a child’s backpack is to organize the weight distribution properly. It is important that the heaviest items are stored on the side of the backpack that is closest to the child’s back.

The advantage of using a backpack with wheels is that the weight does not fall on the child’s back and shoulders.
(Source: Jozef Polc: 35429596/ 123rf.com)

Shopping Criteria

In order to select the best backpack for your child, certain purchase criteria should be taken into account in order to make a successful purchase. You should evaluate important aspects such as the design, the size, and the number of compartments to find the most appropriate product. Below you will find a list of the most important criteria to assess prior to making a purchase.

  • Design
  • Size
  • Compartments
  • Material
  • With or without wheels
  • Additional Features

Design

Design, of course, will be one of the first aspects that you will consider. Depending on the age and interests of your child, some models will be better suited than others. A good idea is to buy a children’s backpack that features your child’s favorite cartoon character. For example, Snoopy, Cars, Mickey Mouse, Rug-Rats, The Simpsons, Donald Duck, Minions or Peppa Pig.

Superheroes are also always very popular among children. Spiderman, Aquaman, Superman, Batman or Captain America are some of the most-recognized characters, although there are many more. You can also find backpacks with the logo of their favorite football or baseball team. For preschoolers, the designs of animals or Disney characters are by far the most sought after.

Size

The size of a backpack is also one of the most important factors to assess. Firstly, the child’s age and height must be taken into consideration. Buying a big backpack that will last for many years, as the child grows, is a bad idea. An over-sized backpack will be uncomfortable and difficult for the child to carry. Remember that for children in preschool, the height of the backpack should not be greater than 14 inches.

Another thing to remember is that the backpack should not sit lower than the child’s waist. By following the manufacturer’s instructions and age recommendations, you will not have to worry about this detail. An optimal backpack for children should sit about 1 inch above the child’s waist. If it does not, it means that the backpack is too big for the child.

Steven Dowshen, MDKidsHealth.org

“Backpacks come in all sizes, colors, fabrics, and shapes and help kids of all ages express their own personal sense of style. And when used properly, they’re incredibly handy”.

Compartments

The proper weight distribution of the contents can not take place without a backpack that features the correct number of well-placed compartments. It is important that the main section is wide enough to carry a number of items. It is equally important that the main compartment also features a number of smaller compartments or pockets to store items such as a pencil case, spare clothes or a snack. Having everything rolling around in one big compartment is a recipe for disaster.

It is also advisable that a backpack incorporates other pockets or nooks and crannies on the outside of the backpack. For example, a side compartment on the outside would be particularly useful for holding a water bottle or juice box, so that if any spillage occurs, it is on the outside of the backpack.

Material

The material that the backpack is made from is a factor to be assessed closely. The life of the backpack will depend largely on its quality and material. Ideally, the material used should be a very resistant material and, if possible, waterproof. When it rains, you will be extremely grateful for having chosen a waterproof and resistant backpack.

The most common materials for children’s backpacks include polyester and polyamide. It is also recommended to find a backpack that uses hypoallergenic materials (textiles or materials that are less likely to cause allergic reactions or allergies). A backpack will be in permanent contact with the child’s skin, which is why it is essential that it does not cause allergies.

With or without wheels

When children are in primary school, an option may be to buy a backpack with wheels. This will allow your child to pull their backpack on wheels and transfer the weight from their shoulders to the wheels on the bottom of the backpack. There are versatile models that incorporate removable wheels, which is are fantastic for modifying the backpack according to the situation.

Keep in mind that if you live in an area of uneven terrain or an apartment block with many stairs, backpacks with wheels are not recommended. The reason for this is that the wheels on the backpack increase the overall weight. This will make it much heavier than a traditional backpack, so carrying it on their shoulders will be even more difficult. Backpacks with wheels are also not recommended if the journey from school to home is long.

Additional features

Finally, you can determine if the inclusion of certain extras make a backpack more practical and useful. For example, separators to insert inside the main compartment to ensure that all the items to not become jumbled up. It is also common that the straps of a backpack are adjustable, but you should double-check this.

There are also some models that come with a matching suitcase, which can be very useful when it comes time for summer vacations. It is very practical that the backpack includes a side mesh pocket to place a water bottle. By having the water bottle on the outside of the backpack, your child won’t have to rummage inside their backpack just to have a quick drink.

Summary

Children’s backpacks should always be chosen in line with the stage of the child’s growth. It is important to take into consideration the backpack size, the maximum weight being supported, and other aspects such as the manufacturing materials used. Backpacks are a product that your child will use almost every day, so comfort is essential.

A child’s backpack will accompany them throughout early childhood and adolescence. However, it is important to remember that during each phase of life a different backpack will be needed. Buying a big backpack for a preschool child will not work and will be very uncomfortable for the child. Children’s backpacks are used for carrying all those items that they will need for preschool, elementary school, and middle school. These items usually include their toys, pencils or snacks. Researching and choosing a well-designed product will ensure that your child is happy with their backpack.

Did you like our guide on backpacks for kids? Leave us a comment below or share it on your social networks.

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