Last updated on August 5th, 2022 at 02:29 pm
Backpack manufacturers are constantly changing how they source and produce their products, making it challenging for parents to figure out what is and is not safe.
When it comes to safe backpacks for kids, the main thing to avoid is PVC, but other nasty chemicals include phthalates, BPA, and lead (with lead, the best option is to choose lead-free or lead-safe).
A thing to note about making selections regarding supplies and gear for kids. Choosing a product is tough sometimes, and while I only list products that the companies claim to be PVC, Lead, and Phthalate free – it is a matter of trust too.
Some companies hide behind a broad “meets the standards” statement; others sing it loud and proud that they are completely free of toxins and have ethical practices. It’s up to us as consumers to put our money where we think it’s best deserved.
I always wonder why I must go digging within a company hotline or live chat to find out that the product is safe from lead or PVC. If it is like they say, why not boast it right on the product description page like the small businesses that take care to avoid those things for us? Why make it so hard for us to find out? In the cases of the bigger vendors, I noticed that the customer service reps were a little nonchalant about their answers. “Yeah, sure it’s free of all that stuff,” or in some cases, they’d tell me yes, they were free of lead, phthalates, etc but couldn’t cough up any solid information about 3rd party testing. So keep that in mind when making selections.
List of Safe Backpacks for Kids
The following school backpacks are free of:
A new SafeMama favorite.
Ten Little recycled backpacks are free of:
- and PFAs (forever chemicals)
The backpacks come in two sizes 12" and 15". Also their lunch bags are free of all of the chemicals listed above. They offer bundles with stainless steel water bottles, lunch bags, and backpacks. Or you can purchase the 12" backpack here or the 15" here.
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Fjallraven backpacks are per our materials guide; all phthalates in toys and childcare articles for children aged 0- 3 years are restricted (<0.05%) in Denmark, so we try to fall in with those guidelines.
Also, lead, and other carcinogens like Bisphenol (BPA), Dichloroethylene, or Trichloroethane are completely forbidden to be used in manufacturing our products, so we don't make any gear or clothing with any of those!
We appreciate you reaching out and seeking clarification; we think what materials we put into our products are important, and as a company dedicated to existing with and within nature, we strive to avoid using any harmful chemicals or materials.
Please refer to our Materials Guide
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.11/29/2023 10:42 pm GMT
The following companies 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 backpacks 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 cannot 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.)
- Jansport (PVC-free and uses recycled polyester)
- Hanna Anderson (PVC-free)
I’m waiting to hear back from Wildkin. For years they where a safe option, but now some of their backpacks contain PVC. I have asked them to provide us with a list of backpacks that do not contain PVC and will update this page once I receive the information.
For now, this is what I have with regards to Wildkin backpacks.
Waiting to hear back from:
- Crate and Barrell asked about safe backpacks for this item and the matching lunch box, because they needed a sku to be able to provide an answer. As of Aug 5, 2022, never responded to my request.
- State , (looks good waiting to hear back). Emailed on July 13, 2022 asking if their backpacks met our criteria. Responded that I needed to give them a specific backpack. I emailed back on Aug 5, stating that we wanted to know about all of the backpacks.
- Pottery Barn Teen (waiting to hear back initail response was. “I am so sorry this information is not provided in the product specifications. What I would like to do is submit a Product Information Request and our specialty team will respond to this inquiry within an estimated 7 business days by email. I will just need your full name and email address so the team can reach you.” As of Aug 5, 2022 no response.
Looking for safer Lunch Gear options?
SafeMama Lunch Gear Cheat Sheet to the rescue.