Buying a new back-to-school backpack? Here's what you need to know

NEW YORK (WABC) -- It's back to school time and Consumer Reports has some backpack buying advice to help you gear up.

For many students, back-to-school happiness hinges on their backpack.

Experts at Consumer Reports say there are important attributes to consider as well to ensure comfort and prevent injury.

"The most important thing is fit, for sure," Consumer Reports' Alex Willen said.

Look for straps that are wide, padded and contoured. A waist belt is another key detail. The top of the shoulder straps should sit one or two inches below the shoulders. And you want the bottom of the backpack to rest in the small of your back, never more than four inches below the waistline.

Willen says if a backpack fits properly, it'll distribute the weight more evenly on your body and take pressure off of your back and shoulders.

Reflective trim can also be important, particularly if your child walks to school.

Consumer Reports has tested backpacks extensively over the years to check durability.

If you're in a store and want an idea of how well made a bag is, take a peek inside. If you see things like loose threads or sloppy stitching, raw, unfinished edges, it's usually a sure sign that the bag wasn't made well.

Another important step to preventing injury is to check how heavy your child's backpack is when it's fully loaded. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that students carry no more than 10 to 20 percent of their body weight.
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