The upcoming schoolyear already has some parents busily preparing and shopping for it. At a time like this, take a few moments to consider your children’s health. Below you will find a few general health suggestions and some detailed guidelines for selecting the right kind of schoolbag to safeguard spinal health. General Health:
- It is important for your child to engage in daily physical activity, whether that be in the playground or in classes.
- It is advisable to include physical activity in the daily routine, such that your child will not spend more than an hour at a time in front of the TV or the computer.
- It is recommended that the activities be diverse, for example ball games, bicycle riding and games on the playground gymnastic installations.
- Encourage walking to school safely; walking is good for both child and parent health.
- The correct choice of a schoolbag, especially a backpack, and matching it to the child’s dimensions is important to the child’s spinal health.
Selecting the Schoolbag:
- A bag must be as large as the child’s back, and no larger.
- A bag with broad, padded adjustable shoulder straps.
- A bag with breathing mesh back padding.
- A bag with multiple pouches, which enable distribution of the weight of the books and the notebooks.
- Light reflecting strips on the body of the bag to increase the child’s safety after dark.
Carrying the Schoolbag:
- Make sure that the shoulder straps are of equal length, to enable division of the weight to both shoulders.
- Make sure that the main weight of the bag is centered around the center of the child’s back, and not against the pelvis.
- Make sure that the child carries the bag strapped over both shoulders.
- Explain to the child that books must be stored in the pouch closest to the child’s back.
- Explain that he should report any occurrence of back pains, shoulder or neck pains.
Preventing bag overweight:
- It is recommended to inquire with the school whether there is a possibility to use lockers for the children, to avoid unnecessary carrying of the books to and from.
- Guide the child to carry only the materials necessary for the given school day.
- Guide the child to store at home or in a locker at school any school materials not needed for the specific day.
- Make sure that the loaded bag does not weigh more than 15% of the child’s weight.
Trolley bag – yes or no? A trolley bag does not get carried on the child’s back, however it is heavier. It is suitable if the route to school is clear of obstacles or potholes, and if the walking distance is long. Since such a bag is heavy when lifted, the trolley bag is not suitable for scaling stairs and for transporting over rough terrain.