Our school children are now into full swing of term. As parents, caregivers and teachers we need to be cautious and continually monitoring our children's school bag. Primary school aged children are at risk the most and by carrying a heavy load it becomes detrimental to their health and their growing bodies.
Majority of school bags will contain a lunch box, water bottle, textbook/books, portable devices, maybe some sports gear it all starts to add up, so it comes as no surprise school bags can reach OVERLOAD quite quickly.
Why so important?
If the school bag is heavier than 20-30% of the child there is increased stress on growing muscles and spinal ligaments (which are not fully developed until 16 years old). If your child has to hunch over then this position reduces their lung volume - resulting in less air, shallow breathing and ultimately adoption of poor breathing mechanics.
What is ideal?
The “ideal load” is suggested within the range of 10-15% of child's body weight. For example a 20.1 kilograms (kg) child should carry no more than 2 kgs and a 42 kg child no more than 4.2kg.
What to look for?
Red shoulders from the shoulder straps
Complaints - 'my neck hurts', 'my back hurts'.
Walking hunched over, looking up placing strain on the neck. Headaches.
How to manage it?
Evaluate your child's pack