Lighten the load of the new school year
Get the new term off to a good start by ensuring you children aren’t burdened with back pain as well as new teachers, classes and homework…
Heavy bags can put pressure on the discs between the vertebrae which can cause long term back pain in small and still-developing bodies, and children can suffer muscular pain, headaches, tingling and numbness in the arms and legs and even mobility problems.
Children should never carry more than about 15% of their own body weight. Parents can help by packing their children’s rucksacks and making sure that the heavier items are nearer to the child’s back. Heavier items on the outside of the bag tend to throw out the child’s centre of gravity out of balance, which leads to bad posture and increases the chances of them straining their back.
Other useful advice includes: A backpack is usually more comfortable than a bag that puts strain on only one shoulder, but even a backpack shouldn’t be overloaded.
When buying a bag, get a sturdy, well-designed bag with wide, padded shoulder straps that reduce pressure on the neck and shoulder area. Make sure it has adjustable straps which can be altered as the child grows.
Check your child’s posture after they have put the bag on. If you notice your child leaning forward or slouching, check if the bag is too heavy or if it has been packed incorrectly.
Make sure your child is only carrying the items they need for school that day – remove any unnecessary books and equipment.
Check if your school has lockers, pigeon holes or desks for storing equipment or books that can be left at school.