How to bag a good one

• Look for bags with wide, padded straps and strong back support. Well-designed straps - especially S-shaped straps, which curve in and then out near the bottom - will ensure good contact with the child's back and help prevent pain. • The bag should be spacious enough to easily store all the student's materials. Kids might not need all those pockets and compartments, but those in higher grades probably need special spots to stow cellphones, gadgets, a calculator and keys. Those designated pockets also keep them from losing things. • Consider the weight distribution of the items in the bag. Heavy items should be placed closest to the back and secured with the elastic straps. • The school bag should be positioned with its bottom just along the hip level and the top of the bag should be slightly above the shoulders. • Teach the child to adjust the shoulder straps to get the bag in the correct position. Do this by bending forward and pulling the lower straps. • The bag must always be carried on both shoulders, to protect the child's back and spine. Strong handles are a plus. This is often a weak spot for those pupils who regularly overload their backpacks. Look for extra stitching and backing in these areas. • It's also important that the schoolbag be attractive, trendy and appealing to children. - O.Z.