Heavy backpacks should be a concern

2017-04-19 06:01
Don't ignore your child's complaints of a heavy backpack.                       PHOTO: sourced

Don't ignore your child's complaints of a heavy backpack. PHOTO: sourced

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IF your child complains about a school bag being too heavy, don’t ignore it as it could cause severe damage to their spine.

A Scottsville chiropractor, Dr Mark Kidson, said over 88% of school pupils complain of body pain especially of the neck, shoulders and spine and that over 50% of children will complain of low back pain by the age of 14 years.

“Spinal deformities both scoliosis and kyphosis are being reported more frequently and school bags are being attributed as a causative factor,” he said.

Kidson added that current recommendations stipulate that a child’s school bag should not exceed 10-15% of the child’s body weight. The
average back pack in a 2005 study demonstrated an average of 22% of the child’s weight, far above the safety limit.

If a child is walking more than 10 minutes to school the bag should weigh less 10% of the child’s weight.

“Parents and teachers should regularly check the child’s school bag,” said Kidson.

“Parents, teachers and the children all need to work together for finding and creating an effective solution,” he added.

A study of 13-year-old school children demonstrated that carrying a school bag over one shoulder dramatically worsened posture and compromised the child’s walking. Poor posture is associated with psychosocial problems such as a poor self image and depression as well as with headaches, back pain and other injuries elsewhere in the body (not just of the spine) and not only when the child is using their schoolbag.

“The injuries caused can potentially become conditions that will last their whole life. Elsewhere in the world, legislation is being considered regarding heavy school bags, spinal deformity and potential brain damage due to the spinal deformity with schools and parents being held responsible,” he said.

Parents and schools need to work together to reduce the bag’s weight.

Other factors also need to be considered for the well being of the child such as inactivity, obesity and poor quality of food, as this too can contribute to the problems being discussed.

• Buy a backpack-style bag with adjustable shoulder traps, encourage the child to use both shoulder straps.

• Get padded back and hip straps if possible.

• Place the heaviest items closest to the back.

• Repack the bags on a daily basis to avoid taking unnecessary books and other things to school. Make sure the school pack is the correct weight for your child.

• Children complaining of pain should seek help.

• Lockers and drinking water need to be made available at school.

• If you are concerned seek medical advice from people who deal with this type of complaint.

The injuries caused can potentially become conditions that will last their whole lives.
Elsewhere in the world, legislation is being
considered regarding heavy school bags, spinal deformity and potential brain damage due to the spinal deformity with schools and parents being held responsible.

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