2015 Safer Backpacks Cheat Sheet

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Backpack manufactures are constantly changing the way they source and produce their products, making it a challenge for parents to figure out what is and is not safe. When it comes to safer backpacks for kids the main thing to avoid is PVC, but other nasty chemicals to avoid include phthalates, BPA and lead (with lead the best option is to choose lead free or lead safe). Our safer backpack cheat sheet provides the info you’ll need to make the best choice for your family.

Backpacks Free from PVC, Phthalates, Lead and BPA.


Backpacks Free from PVC, Phthalates, BPA and lead safe


The following are companies that provided a bit of a “murky” definition of what is and is not used to produce their backpacks, but all of the below are PVC free.

  • Lands End   (We would like to reassure you that the Lands’ End lunch boxes and back packs are not made with PVC.  In addition, we have an independent lab that tests our lunch boxes, backpacks, and diaper bags and they confirm that our product not only meets, but also exceeds all safety requirements for lead. Because lead is a naturally occurring element, we are not able to guarantee that any of our lunch boxes is 100% lead free, but there were no detectable levels of lead in them. We test all water bottles, insulated containers and plastic containers for BPA. All lunch box liners and trim is tested and meets the United States federal safety standards for phthalates.)
  • Garnet Hill (Garnet Hill’s backpacks are PVC Free and BPA, phthalate and lead safe.)
  • High Sierra   (All items advertised via HighSierra.com are BPA and PVC free with very low lead (levels)).
  • Jansport   (Thank you for contacting JanSport. Our company made a decision some years ago to change all of our products to PVC free. You can rest assured that our product will not contain traces of it. As Far as BPA, phtalates and lead there is not a 100% guarantee that our packs would not have any traces in them.)
  • Hanna Anderson  (Thank you for taking the time to e-mail us today. All Hanna backpacks and back pack products meet or exceed the “safe for children” CPSIA (Children?s Product Safety Improvement Act) limits for lead, phthalates and BPA.  All are PVC free except the rolling bag.)


Looking for safer Lunch Gear options? SafeMama Lunch Gear Cheat Sheet to the rescue.


21 Responses to “2015 Safer Backpacks Cheat Sheet”

  1. Anita meyer on August 13th, 2013 9:47 am

    Can you please tell me if the hasboro my little backpack purple sold at target is a safe backpack. I called target and they said it was made out of polyester. They gave the manufacturers phone, 212-244-4400. The woman who called me back said it was within the us guidelines and they are made overseas. She also said that she had no other information to give to me.

    Of course this makes me concerned.

    Please advise me. Thank you.
    Anita Meyer 617-816-5033

  2. Tamra on August 21st, 2013 12:58 am

    “The fabric for the backpacks and lunchboxes meet the standards set forth by the government. Although they may have traces, the materials have been tested by our manufacturer and are below the requirements. The lining of the lunchbox is free of everything.”

    Kids Travel Zone

  3. Stephanie on August 24th, 2013 9:27 am

    Hi – the Crocodile Creek website does NOT say its backpacks are lead-free, only BPA and PVC free. I emailed them as a follow-up, but wondering if you got some reliable information directly from them that they are lead-free? Thanks!

  4. MT on August 27th, 2013 7:17 pm

    I just received a High Sierra backpack and it has a proposition 65 warning label. I don’t understand why they didn’t mention this in the product information online. I wouldn’t have ordered it. Now I have to return it!


  5. Heather M on August 28th, 2013 1:47 am

    I had a couple questions –
    1. Would you be able to share the info you received from Crocodile Creek that said its backpacks were lead free? I’m a little wary because their lunchboxes say on the tag, “lead-free lining” and as you have written, “meet lead requirements.” The Crocodile Creek backpacks, meanwhile, do not make any claims of being lead-free on their labels or website. I’m feeling confused!
    2. Have you ever looked into Stephen Joseph backpacks and lunch items? They just give a standard “meets requirements” note on their website. I’d love more information on their products.
    Finally, Thank you so much for the wonderful list you’ve put together.
    Heather M

  6. Brit on September 11th, 2013 3:33 pm

    Sugarbooger backpacks are lead-free, pvc-free, phalytes-free, bpa-free. If this isn’t correct please let me know. And what about Skip Hop backpacks? I’m in search of cute little kids backpacks – 2 years.

  7. Deanna on October 4th, 2013 9:23 pm

    Talked with Skip Hop—their backpacks have been made of PVC for years & did not inform the buyers about the change. TI does not advertise on their site that they are free of PVC but they are on many sites listed as such. They said they would get the word to the companies who have been selling their product. I feel bad for all the parents that have bought them over the yrs! I almost bought one myself as I think they are the cutest.

  8. Lynnae on November 2nd, 2013 8:49 pm

    HI there-

    I am about to purchase a backback made by Lassig. The label on the backpack I saw in person said it was Free of PVC and Pthalates. Amazon also says its free of nickel, AZO dyes, cadmium, as well as pvc & phthalates. I found mine at a local store front known for wood and imported toys, but they are on amazon and other online retailers. I’ll admit that they are not cheap..

  9. Alisha on March 22nd, 2014 11:26 am

    I was wondering is the Herschel Supply Company had any concerning products on or in the make of the toddler backpacks. I am thinking about purchasing one.

  10. Amber on February 3rd, 2015 5:30 pm

    The backpack Herschel Supply Co. is selling on J. Crew for kids cannot be sold or shipped to California. Cannot say for certain, but I’m assuming they aren’t Prop. 65 compliant. They are likely using environmentally hazardous materials.

  11. Summer Gallant on July 23rd, 2015 12:25 am

    I stumbled upon a brand called Jaq Jaq Bird that makes adorable backpacks and lunchbox sets that are PVC, phthalate, BPA and lead Free!!! Cutest ones I’ve found so far :)

  12. Mia on July 23rd, 2015 7:49 pm

    What does anyone know about the Pottery Barn backpacks?? I called today, but the costumer service rep that I talked to didn’t seem to knowledgeable in the matter.

  13. Mia on July 23rd, 2015 8:10 pm

    Does anyone know anything about pottery barn???

  14. Kristie on July 26th, 2015 3:07 pm

    Those are really cute. and geared toward Kindergarten and 1st graders.

  15. Kristie on July 26th, 2015 3:08 pm

    I called Pottery Barn and was not given a clear answer :(

  16. Anna on July 30th, 2015 3:50 am

    Would you happen to know if Roxy Backpacks are safe?

  17. Adri on July 30th, 2015 2:42 pm

    I just spoke to a rep at LL Bean and he said the backpack I was inquiring about is PVC and phthalate free, but they don’t test for lead and he didn’t have any info regarding BPA.

  18. Kristie on August 2nd, 2015 1:13 pm

    Hi Anna, I contacted Roxy and they said it can vary from item to item and that all information can be found on the items product page. I looked at many of the backpacks and could not find one that was listed as PVC free.

  19. Stacy on August 3rd, 2015 8:04 pm

    WARNING: I just spoke with High Sierra consumer rep about their back packs & their Proposition 65 warning is for the toxic formaldehyde glue they use to bind the inside of the straps & padding. I had ordered through Amazon & the back pack that was in a plastic bag stunk like chemicals when I opened it. I returned it ASAP!

    Im sooo disappointed cuz this is the best school back my kids have ever had.

  20. Coreen on September 4th, 2015 9:22 pm

    I would love more information on the Skip Hop lunch bag and backpack, please. This is what we have been using for the past 2 years. Willing to toss!
    I just purchased a quilted backpack by Stephen Joseph based on your advice.

  21. Jen on September 11th, 2015 10:16 pm

    I called Pottery Barn about a backpack and they didn’t have any info. They said they would contact the buyer and email me. I decided to go with L.L. Bean after reading reviews. I live chatted with an LL Bean rep for a rolling backpack my daugher wanted and asked if it was PVC, Lead and Pthalates free. I was told it was free of all three things. I forgot to ask about BPA. I have an insulated cooler from LL Bean and when I called them to ask if it was PVC free, they assured me it was. Hope that is helpful!

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