A backpack inspired by Austin, plus how to choose the right one for your kids

Looking for a new backpack for school?

One backpack is inspired by an Austin treasure: Our bats.

Animal Packers’ new bat backpack is called the “Austin” and is designed for younger kids to be the right size for them and be adjustable to not drag down to their knees. It’s also light-weight and comes with a removable tag, which you’ll want for day care or school, but not when you’re out and about.

If you’re kids aren’t into bats, there’s also ducks, bears, monkeys, horse and dogs. The backpacks are $35 at animalpackers.com.

Animal Packers Austin backpack.

We’ve been shopping the backpack aisles for our back-to-school photo shoot and found some really cute ones for littles, mediums and big kids.

We found Skip Hop Zoo Pack backpacks at Carter’s for $20. We especially loved Luna Lama and Bailey Bat.

LYNDA M. GONZALEZ / AMERICAN-STATESMAN photos

At Justice, we found sequined owl backpacks for $39.90.

At Old Navy, we found a cool space backpack for $24.99.

 

At Target, we found a Swiss Gear’s backpack/briefcase, $49.99, and a geometric shape iPack backpack, $22.49.

Before you pick a backpack for your kids, know this:

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates there are more than 7,300 backpack-related injuries treated by doctors and hospitals annually.

With that in mind, how do you know which backpack is the right one for your child’s body (not for your child’s style.

Ask yourself these questions:

Is the bag lightweight?

Does it have two wide shoulder straps? Skip the cute messenger bags or laptop bags.

Is the back padded?

Does it go past your child’s waist? If so, it’s too big.

Does it have a strap that goes across the waist or across the chest? That can help get the weight off the back.

Once you have the perfect bag, ask yourself these questions:

Does everything your child is putting in there have to go in there? The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that a  bag should not weigh more than 20 percent of a child’s weight — and that’s still A LOT.

How much do those school supplies weight and do they have to? Think about the weight of those three-ringed binders, folders and notebooks, and if there is a lighter option, choose it.

Are they packing the bag correctly? Are they distributing items across all the compartments, and not just putting everything in the large center one?

Are they wearing it correctly? That means using both straps, Kids, and the straps should be tight against their back and allow the pack to sit 2 inches about their waist.

Are they picking it up correctly? This is a perfect time to learn to bend with the knees and use both hands, not just the thumb.

For more about picking the right bag and using it correctly, see my interview with Dr. Barbara Bergin, an orthopedic surgeon at Texas Orthopedics. 

Find more back to school tips at statesman.com/back-school-2018, including ways to save money on school supplies, our school supplies comparison shopping and the 10 things you need to do before school starts.