Are backpacks history?

Filed under: Day Care & Education, Decor

It seems that these days, kids aren't so interested in backpacks for their school gear. Messenger bags are the new style, according to the Star Tribune. Kids are eschewing the traditional two-strap pack for the hip look of a beat-up messenger bag. If you didn't realize this and bought your now sorely out-of-fashion kid a back pack, don't feel too bad. Even Teen Vogue fashion market director Gloria Baume wasn't up on the new trend.

Her eight-year-old daughter ditched the backpack she had bought in favor of a messenger bag. According to Baume, her readers are making the same choice. Apparently, the days of the backpack are numbered. It's not just your everyday kids, either, who are making the switch. "I'm more into the messenger bag at the moment," said singer Gwen Stefani.

Likewise, Monique Coleman, part of the cast of "High School Musical 2", says "Messenger bag, for sure. Messenger bag, all the way. It's like a big purse, not a big book loader."

This isn't necessarily a healthy trend, however, as backpacks are definitely better for the back. "You want any weight you are carrying close to your torso or trunk," says Dr. Mary Ann Wilmarth, director of the doctor of physical therapy program at Northeastern University's School of Professional and Continuing Studies. "If you have a significant amount of weight in a bag, a good backpack is better because it centralizes it. A messenger bag is lopsided." If you do opt for the messenger bag, says Wilmarth, at least have your kids wear it diagonally across the body to better distribute the weight.

I always carried a backpack when I was in school, but only on one shoulder -- an unhealthy choice. Unfortunately, there's no info on how that compares to a messenger bag worn across the chest. I guess the best advice in that regard is the same as its always been: make sure your kids' bags -- be they backpacks or messenger bags -- aren't too heavy.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.