Results of buying the wrong schooolbag for children

Children nowadays are burdened not only by their heavy school work but also by their heavy schoolbags. Studies have shown that their typical health problems are not only caused by the long hours they spend sitting in front of computers but by heavy schoolbags they have to carry day-to-day. According to physiotherapists buying the wrong schoolbag––or carrying it the wrong way––can lead to chronic back pain, accidents and possibly lifelong orthopaedic damage.

Health-issues caused by heavy schoolbags

Children’s backpacks––especially when extra books, clothing, a musical instrument or any other equipment are added––can weigh too much. The maximum weight a child should carry is 10-20% of their body weight. If it exceeds this percentage, the bag is simply too heavy for a child’s still-forming bones and muscles.

The pain occurs when the weight of the schoolbag pulls the children backward, forcing them to bend forward or arch their backs to keep the bag centred. This position is very unhealthy especially in the long run. The excess weight puts extra stress on the spine, muscles, ligaments and disk thus damaging them.

The habit of carrying a schoolbag on one shoulder is also wrong and should be avoided as it can exert unnatural force on the spine, muscles and attachments. Furthermore, a heavy backpack puts pressure on the neck muscles causing headache, shoulder pain, lower back pain and tingling or numbness in the arms. Heavy bags put the children’s health and physical development at risk which can pull back their overall growth.

How to choose the best schoolbag

When buying a bag, choose a massive one made of lightweight material. It has to be comfortable, easy to put on and take off. Adjustable shoulder straps are also a must. It is even better if it has a strap to go around the waist. Schoolbags with padded straps are highly recommended, because that extra layer takes the pressure off the neck and shoulders and readjusts the weight to the back and the legs as well.

Check your child’s posture after he has put the bag on. If you notice your child leaning forward, check if the bag is too heavy or if it has been packed incorrectly. Always put the bigger and heavier books closest to the back, the smaller and lighter books in the front.

The schoolbag should not be overloaded. Make sure your child is only carrying the items they need for school that day, and remove any unnecessary books and equipment. It might be a good idea to choose a bag with several compartments, such as a place for a water bottle and a separate area to put pens and smaller items in the front. That way it is easier for your child to find these smaller items.

Carrying the schoolbag over one shoulder probably looks cool but you should make your child understand that it is a perfect recipe for poor posture and it is going to damage their shoulder. Encourage your child to carry the bag on both the shoulders. Children also should avoid carrying their backpack lower than their hips as it puts a strain on their lower back.

Last but not least, choose a schoolbag together with your child. Most children will know exactly what they like and do not like. Furthermore, letting your child pick out their schoolbag is an easy way to get them excited about going to school.

No matter what your age, we can help

Physiotherapy helps restore, and where possible, improve movement and function when a child is affected by injury, illness or delayed development. Each child has an initial assessment carried out by our trained therapists. Physio Medicine’s distinctive approach helps the physio experience not only be successful, but maybe even a little enjoyable.

The therapist will discuss the immediate and long term needs of your child with you to make a tailored treatment programme, which may include muscle strengthening and stretching, posture, gait and balance training, improving movement patterns or provision of specialist equipment.

Our major aim is to help parents to understand their child’s therapy needs and to feel confident in addressing these in the child’s daily life at home. Parents and children are welcome to come back for an update to support their progress towards the agreed goals.

If you have any concerns regarding your child suffering from any of the above or any other concerns regarding their development or ability in sports or day-to-day activities don’t hesitate to book an appointment today.