A lot of school children struggle to maintain posture and balance while carrying overloaded bags carrying books and other school stuff. A heavy school bag when slung over one shoulder can cause muscle strain, distortion of natural curve of spine and rounding of shoulder. It is obvious that overburdening with the weight of schoolbags has consequences of different kinds.
Tips to remember for a school bag:
Choose a backpack with padded and adjustable shoulder, waist and chest straps. Waist straps should be worn as the weight is transferred to the hips, rather than having all the weight on the shoulders.
Adjust the shoulder straps so that the bottom of the back pack is just above the child’s waist – don’t allow them to wear the back pack slung low over their buttocks.
When fitted correctly, the back pack should contour snugly to the child’s back, rather than hang off their shoulders.
Carrying the bag with the straps at full length, thus carrying the weight too far
from the core is not suitable for the child.
Do not carry the bag on one shoulder – Puts unequal weight on the developing spine.
It is not just when your child is going to and from school but is actually worse
going from class to class throughout the day as more time is spent carrying the
bag throughout the day than coming and going to school!!!
The backpack should have a few separate compartments to help with packing
and the heaviest should be put near the child’s back. If the heaviest items are put
further away, this will throw the child’s centre of balance and cause unnecessary
The back pack should weigh less than 10 percent of your child’s body weight – for example, a child of 30kg should carry less than 3kg in their back pack.
Canvas back packs are lighter than leather varieties.
Consider buying a back pack with built-in wheels so the bag can be dragged along when it’s too heavy to put on a back.
Make sure that items can’t move around during transit, as this could upset your child’s centre of gravity – use the back pack’s compartments.
Your child should lift the back pack with a straight back, using their thigh muscles. The back pack should be lifted with both hands and held close to the body. Slip an arm through one shoulder strap, and then the other.
Other ways to reduce the load carried by your child include:
If your child insists they need to bring home more books than they can comfortably carry, see their teacher.
Consult with your child’s school about limiting the weight of children’s schoolbags.
Regularly clean out the back pack, since your child may be storing unneeded items.
Regularly ask your child if their back pack is causing fatigue or pain. If so, lighten the load and adjust the fittings.
Plan ahead – don’t carry lots of equipment at the same time, like sports gear, musical instruments or art materials
Pack the heaviest items – such as your laptop – closest to the body and the lighter, softer items further out. Carry smart!