Many kiwi kids walk to and from, and around school carrying backpacks filled with books, stationery, lunch, sports gear and even these days items such as lap tops! Carrying such heavy loads for a long distance or time isn’t good for anyone, least of all children as their bones are ‘soft’ and still developing. Parents should be aware that overly stressing the back with a heavy school bag could cause spinal imbalances in their child which can later cause them irreversible back problems as an adult.
Following a few guidelines we can reduce the chances of this happening.
Two padded shoulder straps. The wider these are the better so that straps don’t dig into the body and cut off circulation.
Padded back support to avoid items poking into the back.
A waste belt. The straps should be adjustable so that the bag is held close to the back and weight is evenly distributed.
Multiple compartments can also help distribute the weight more evenly.
Encourage your child to wear their backpack over both shoulders. Carrying the backpack on one shoulder, while may be fashionable can cause long term neck, shoulder, back and postural problems. ·
Keep it light. Make sure your child is not carrying any unnecessary excess weight – check that all the items in their bags are essential.
Always pack the backpack with the heaviest items closest to the back. ·
Limit the weight your child carries in a backpack to 10-15% of his/her body weight.