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Backpack Awareness Day Results:

2018: Average is 13.8 lbs


On Wednesday September 26th, we put our kids' backpacks to the test.  An awesome team of volunteers helped over 200 students weigh their packs as they walked into school.  Last year, the average KiMS student's backpack was 14.6 lbs, so we beat that number a little under a pound!  Woot Woot! 

Just like previous years, girls have heavier backpacks (14.14 lbs compared to the boys at 13.28) and 6th graders manage to carry the lightest load of the three grades represented.  87% of our students still carry more than 10-15% of their body weight on their developing back, and despite this being a great improvement over our previous 94-96%, there is still plenty of room for improvement. Work still continues to educated students/families, staff and the district on strategies that can help our kids lighten their loads. 



Click here for a video with more information.

 The Backpack Committee's mission is to assure that students’ backpacks are no more than 10-15% of their body weight (APTA & AOTA recommendations) which is critical for the safety, health and well-being of Kirkland Middle School Students. (see our goals


Girls packs are consistently heavier
  • Boys improve overall each year
  • 96% NOT in the “safe zone”
  • 6th graders always have the lightest packs
  • Have we hit a plateau?

Click this graph to see if your child's backpack is too heavy:


An overweight backpack can cause health problems


Why are the backpacks so heavy?




What the Backpack Committee Is Doing (Join  Us!)

Raising Awareness


  • Encouraging other schools to hold their own Backpack Awareness Day
  • Got agreement from Dr. Pierce to aim for 10-15% body weight

  • Working with the LWPTSA Advocacy Group

  • LWSD developed district-wide messaging


Gathered Data

  • Met with students and staff for ideas

Found Solutions

  • KiMS Math Department de-spined workbooks and using plastic binders


Getting Results

There's More To Do

Created Committee Next Steps

Backpack Successes and Targets


What Parents Can Do

Join the Backpack Committee

Choose your backpack and school supplies carefully

Follow these tips


Make sure your child is wearing their pack correctly

Prompt your kids to clean out their backpacks regularly


Backpack Awareness Day Toolkit

Backpack Awareness Day is a nationally recognized event that was created by the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA).

Hosting a Backpack Awareness Day is the critical first step in understanding the size and scope of the backpack issue at your school.  This toolkit is a step-by-step guide with supporting materials included to make it as easy as possible for you to hit the ground running for your September event. 

Backpack Awareness Day Tookit (PDF)

Backpack Awareness Day Presentation (PPT)

 More Documents

Meetings with Lake Washington School District

Oct 2017

Mar 2017

Jan 2017

Nov 2016

Oct 2016

Apr 2016

Backpack Committee Info

Backpack District Summary - Oct 2017

Student Backpack Workshop Summary - Nov 2016

Student Backpack Workshop Agenda - Nov 2016

Student Backpack Workshop: Exercise for Back Pain - Nov 2016

Reference Materials

Tips and Tricks Cards - Nov 2016

Solutions Spreadsheet (Apr 2016)

Summary of suggestions (from parents, kids, and teachers)

Why Don't They...

Articles of Interest

Back to school doesn't have to be a pain

Backpack causing chronic pain

Heavy backpacks can cause chronic pain

Back problems due to heavy backpacks in school children


Contact Us

You can email with any questions or ideas.

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Kirkland Middle School PTSA, 430 18th Ave, Kirkland, WA 98033 Kirkland Middle School