Despite their potential problems, backpacks are great when used properly. Before you buy one, though, consider a backpack's construction.
Look for the following to choose the right backpack
a lightweight pack: get one that doesn't add a lot of weight to your child's load; for example, leather packs look cool, but they weigh more than canvas backpacks
two wide, padded shoulder straps: straps that are too narrow can dig into shoulders
a padded back: it not only provides increased comfort, but also protects kids from being poked by sharp objects or edges (pencils, rulers, notebooks, etc.) inside the pack
a waist belt: this helps to distribute the weight more evenly across the body
multiple compartments: to help distribute the weight throughout the pack
Although packs on wheels (which look like small, overhead luggage bags) may be good options for students who have to lug around really heavy loads, they're very hard to pull up stairs and to roll through snow. Check with the school before buying a rolling pack; many don't allow them because they can be a tripping hazard in the hallways.