To protect your child’s back or organise a school bag fitting, call us on (03) 9571 6888 or fill in our online form

School Bag Fittings


With school only just around the corner and many parents busy organising books, stationary and uniforms, it is crucial to not forget about your child’s school bag.  Back pain is becoming more prevalent in children and young adolescence.  In many cases, the cause of back pain can be the result of carrying excessive loads to and from school in an ill-fitting backpack.  An Australian study recently found that heavily loaded backpacks (backpacks weighing more than five kilograms) were responsible for posture problems that may cause neck and back pain that can lead to permanent spinal damage in later life.

Malvern East Physiotherapy has put together a few helpful tips to assist you in choosing the right school bag and ensuring it is fitted correctly.

Key features for choosing the right school bag

  • A lightweight pack that does not add a lot of weight to your child’s load
  • Two wide, adjustable, padded shoulder straps
  • A padded back, not only provides increased comfort, but also protects children from any sharp objects inside the bag
  • A waist belt, which helps to distribute the weight more evenly across the body
  • Multiple compartments, which can help distribute the weight more evenly.

Choosing the correct size

It is important to choose a school bag that fits your child.  It is not recommended that you buy a backpack for your child to “grow into”.

  • The top of the backpack should not be more than 3cm higher than the shoulders, your child should be able to look up at the ceiling without their head hitting the backpack
  • The backpack should be no wider than your child’s chest.
  • The bottom of the bag should be slightly lower than your child’s hips
  • If your child’s bag has a waist strap, it should wrap around the body just below the bony part of your child’s waist. This allows some of the bags weight to be taken by the hips, reducing the load on the back and shoulders
  • Some bags may also feature a chest strap, which joins the two shoulder straps. To help take strain off the shoulders it should be positioned approximately 6cm below the collarbone.

Quick tips

  • Limit your child’s load; plan ahead so they don’t carry too much
  • Children should never carry more than 10% of their body weight
  • Pack heavy items closest to the spine
  • Always wear the backpack over both shoulders

At Malvern East Physiotherapy, our physiotherapists work with a range of schools to improve spinal health.  To organise a FREE school bag fitting for your child or to arrange one of our qualified physiotherapists to come to your school for a class fitting call us today on 9571 6888 or at