Your child will be carrying a school bag from the age of four until they are 18, and most of that time it will be full! That’s 40 weeks a year for 13 years or more. Put in that context it may make us think twice about what we should look for in a school bag and also what to be aware of.
Function – what’s the bag for – absolutely everything?/ will they have a separate gym or lunch bag/ separate computer bag? Most try and get everything into the one and squish it all in.
- Look for a well made bag such as a walking back pack that has strong stitching and also padded, adjustable wide straps that fit
over each shoulder – single straps do not allow for even distribution of weight. These backpacks will generally also have a waist strap and a moulded
back piece that fits snug against the spine a chest strap will helps keep it in place. The waist strap will allow for weight to be placed through the hips and pelvis and allow the pack to be carried more easily.
- The material and weight should be light and breathable if possible s it rests against their back – some form of padding in that compartment closest to their back is preferable.
- The size of bag should not be bigger or wider than their back and the smaller the better whilst still being functional so they don’t over pack so keeping weight down.
- If your child’s bag is so heavy they are bend over at 45˚ and is hanging around their knees they are going to run into trouble. Look at less items or a better fitting bag
- Encourage your child to pack only what is necessary for that day at school.
- Pack the heaviest items close to their spine – so in the biggest pocket and lighter items further away, load is carried closest to their body.
- Consider a sports kit or library bag that they can leave in a locker at school so if they have to carry their bag around with them all day they can leave some items out.
- Make sure you take your child to choose their bag – you will get the right size for them but also have their input in the choice of style and colour. – if they hate it they are unlikely to use it! Have a couple of options open to them – it may be an idea to go shopping ahead of time to suss out options so they are not being dragged around stores for hours on end!
Now you have a great bag and know how to pack it well and adjust it to fit correctly – you just need t o educate the child and get them to use it properly! Fashion and peer group pressure dictates the latest craze on either hanging the bag half way down your bag – hanging it off one shoulder or dragging it along the ground.
Scoliosis and kyphosis (curvatures of the spine) are spotted in school age checkups and may be worsened by poor fitting school bags and poor posture. Given most of our children are spending more time sitting and slouching either at school/ homework/computers/TV and electronics rather than outside climbing trees they are leading a more
sedentary lifestyle and are therefore more prone to postural problems.
Get your child checked if they complain of back or spinal pain, or if their spine looks curved – better to be safe than sorry – especially where your child’s health is concerned!