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With textbooks, computers, lunch and sporting equipment, backpacks can be heavy. This is particularly concerning for junior students as the spine is at a critical stage of development between 12 and 14 years of age.
According to the Australian Physiotherapy Association, 70 per cent of children will suffer back pain because of heavy backpacks.
Backpacks should weigh no more than 10 per cent of a child’s weight. However, recent studies have shown that the school bags of more than half (61%) of school aged children exceed that.
Studies have reported the highest level of discomfort is in the shoulders and back as well as the neck.
In extreme cases, overloaded backpacks can cause headaches, pins and needles and numbness in the arms.
Ideally, you want to lower the backpack weight but here are a few things you can do to eliminate discomfort and injury:
-Get organised. Only take the books you need for that day and leave the rest at school or in a locker.
-The ideal school bag is a backpack with wide shoulder straps that are comfortable and sit well on the shoulder and a padded back support that fits snugly on the back.
-Parents should look for bags with compartments that allow you to pack the heaviest items at the base of the bag closest to the spine.
-Don’t make the mistake of thinking your child will grow into a backpack. The backpack shouldn’t sit higher than the child’s shoulders when sitting down.
-The straps should be shortened until the bottom of the backpack is just above the child’s waist, and not sitting on their buttocks.
Our team is more than happy to answer any questions or help to fit a backpack properly.