An article in Times of India back in 2013 revealed that 30% of school-going children complained of back ache. Why? Because of heavy school bags. Did you know that children aren’t supposed to carry more than 10% of their total body weight?
Unfortunately, most parents are unaware of this fact and give into the pressure of making their children ‘self-sufficient’ through a heavy school bag. Even though schools are now making a progress by opting for online teaching methods, the medical fraternity is still worried.
Let’s have a look at problems heavy school bags can pose on our children:
1) If a heavy school bag isn’t placed correctly on the shoulders, the weight will pull the child backward. To rectify this, the child will try to bend forward resulting in the spine to compress in an unnatural way.
2) Carrying heavy school bags can cause permanent neck, back and shoulder pain in children. In addition to this, children can also develop a bad posture.
3) If a child wears the school bag over just one shoulder, he or she may end up leaning to one side to balance the load. This may cause strain to the neck and shoulders.
4) School bags having tight and extremely narrow straps that dig deep into the shoulders of children. This can affect circulation of blood, resulting in numbness, tingling and even weakened arms and hands.
That sounds scary, doesn’t it? So what safety measures can we take to ensure the good health of school-going children:
1) Firstly, ensure that your child carries a load that is just 10% of his or her total body weight. A school bag with only relevant books, lunchbox and water bottle will suffice.
2) Always go for bags with padded shoulder straps. That way, the child will feel less discomfort and the straps will also not affect the nerves or the circulation system.
3) Today, most school bags have a waist belt. Although this feature is mostly ignored, it balances the entire weight of the school bag. So, make sure you get your kid a bag that has a waist belt.
4) Lastly, distribute the contents of the school bag evenly. No one side of the bag should be heavier than the other.
The developing body of a child is susceptible to the weight of a heavy bag on his / her back. It might not seem like a factor to be concerned about, but experts have more than enough evidence to prove that these bags are a burden for your children – both in the literal and metaphorical sense. Let’s do all we can to ease this burden and not put unreasonable pressure on their young back. After all, we want our children to grow up with strong shoulders, not a stooping posture!