July 12th, 2013

Non-Toxic Backpacks for Elementary School Kids

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Groovy Green Livin non-toxic backpacks

Non-toxic Backpacks for Elementary School Kids

After putting together a Non-Toxic Preschool Backpack Guide I realized that kids over the age of 3 or 4 probably won’t want to be seen in any of those backpacks. The leap from preschool to elementary school is big and with it comes new styles and tastes. A cute little pig on your back probably won’t cut it for most kindergartners.

When my boys started elementary school I did a lot of research to find a safe backpack.

No Vinyl, No PVC, No Phthalates, No Lead

If you’ve been following along here for a while you know that a study by the Center for Health, Environment and Justice’s(CHEJ) found children’s vinyl “back‐to‐school” supplies (including backpacks) contained elevated levels of phthalates, hazardous chemicals that have been banned in toys, yet remain widespread in vinyl back‐to‐school supplies.

Phthalates are hazardous at low levels of exposure, disrupt hormones in our bodies, and have been linked to birth defects, infertility, early puberty, asthma, ADHD, obesity, diabetes, and cancer. Not something you want in your child’s backpack!

Vinyl backpacks could also contain high levels of lead, which can wipe off onto children’s hands and ultimately end up in the child’s mouth.

Bottom Line: Don’t buy vinyl backpacks!

Here are a few non-toxic backpack options for kids in elementary school.

THE NORTH FACE Jester Daypack Groovy Green Livin non-toxic backpack

This is our families backpack of choice at the moment. My two youngest, while in elementary school have used this pack. It’s the perfect size and has a lot of different compartments for storage. The backpack comes in quite a few bright colors and a few plaid choices. I was assured by The North Face that “All our daypacks are PVC, lead and phthalate free. All our products meet global restricted substance requirements.” These are probably best for kids on the older side of elementary school.

Price: $55.00

Groovy Green Livin non-toxic backpackGarnet Hill Backpack for Ages 7 and Up 

My son started kindergarten with a blue Garnet Hill backpack. That pack lasted for a few years and he loved it. Their backpacks come in a variety of snazzy designs and all are certified PVC free. I was assured verbally that all of their children’s products pass all mandatory CPSIA testing-although I couldn’t find this information anywhere on their site. CPSIA testing lowers the amount of lead that can be in children’s products.

Price: $45

ecogear Earth Series Glacier Backpack in pink or grayGroovy Green Livin non-toxic backpack

This company makes their backpacks with planet-friendly organic cotton, PVC-free materials, recycled plastics and toxic-free dyes and components. This backpack is a perfect size for elementary school students.

Price: $25.00

Beatrix New York Big Kid Backpack (Ages 5-10) Groovy Green Livin non-toxic backpack

If you want to stick with a cute backpack for a few more years then this is your bag! The packs are designed for ages 5 to 10 and are PVC, lead, phthalate & BPA free.

Price: $51.00

SoYoung Junior Backpack & Lunch Bag

I lGroovy Green Livin non-toxic backpackove the look of this backpack. Designed with the grade-schooler in mind, this backpack has adjustable straps which allow the backpack to be carried by a 6 year old, but mom and dad can borrow it too. It comes with a fully insulated collapsible lunch bag. SoYoung’s backpacks are PVC, phthalate and lead free. Take a look at the Grey Rocket Backpack, Grey Robot Backpack and the Pink Fawn Backpack too!

Price: $50-$75 (with lunch bag)

Do you have a favorite non-toxic backpack for an elementary school child?

Disclosure:  I received no monetary compensation and all opinions expressed are my own. This post may contain affiliate links for which I will earn compensation if you make a purchase. Thank you for supporting Groovy Green Livin! I’m disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.


Photo credit © Monkey Business #11889842

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10 Responses to “Non-Toxic Backpacks for Elementary School Kids”

  1. Do you have an idea of how the Skip Hop backpacks measure up? We have one, but I am not sure of how it stands up.
    Becky recently posted..History’s Alive in Haddonfield, New JerseyMy Profile

  2. This is so helpful! I realize you can order pvc-free packs. But wouldn’t it be great if these were easier to find in the discount stores so many parents frequent?
    Anne recently posted..Gaudy, Giant Flowering Plant Overtakes Flower BedMy Profile

  3. It would be nice to know that all backpacks are safe in all stores Anne!

  4. [...] Non-toxic Backpacks for Elementary School Kids. Here are a few non-toxic backpack options for kids in elementary school. (Great article for shopping Back-to-School: @Groovygreenlivi reveals Non-Toxic Backpacks for Elementary School Kids.  [...]

  5. [...] Tell SC Johnson to List All Fragrance Ingredients! | Older Newer | Non-Toxic Backpacks for Elementary School Kids → July 10th, [...]

  6. Great post! As September rapidly approaches and my nephew gets ready for school, this selection of non-toxic backpacks is right on time for back to school shopping. The fact that “vinyl backpacks could also contain high levels of lead, which can wipe off onto children’s hands and ultimately end up in the child’s mouth” is unacceptable and appalling. These are our children!

  7. […] backpack choices for elementary school and preschool […]

  8. Wondering if there are patterns available so I can sew my own non-toxic backpacks. Design and size info would be appreciated. Then research at the fabric store for best material options.

    Thinking some kind of recycled & safer plastic/leather to curve over the top of it during wet weather, would be helpful?

  9. […] backpack choices for elementary school and preschool […]

  10. […] are a few safe preschool backpack suggestions and HERE are my picks for safe elementary school […]

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About Lori

I’m Lori Popkewitz Alper, a recovering attorney and the Founder of Groovy Green Livin. I like to make noise and stir the pot especially when an issue hits home and effects the health of our families. Join me as I make some noise and share along the way tips for living a green and healthy life. Read more.

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