How heavy should a schoolbag be and can it damage my child’s spine?

by | Apr 27, 2020 | Blog

Schoolbags have changed vastly over the last 2 decades.  Our children have not only more mental demands placed on them, but it seems the more academic pressure is added, the exponentially bigger the school bag becomes.

Heavy school bags can damage the spine in various ways.  Children’s spines are still growing and are susceptible to outside forces placed upon them.  A heavy school bag will cause the spine to compromise its joint alignment.  This is commonly seen in the way children carry themselves – forward head posture, arching of their lower spine and changes to normal postural alignments to compensate in helping to keep them upright.  This places tremendous strain on their developing frames.

Children are very resilient and may not complain about pain until the long term consequences start to plague them.  The health of their nervous system is under pressure when overloaded and affects their ability to take on new information.

How to take the load of a heavy school bag off your children’s growing spine:

  • School bags should not be heavier than 10% of your child’s body weight when packed.
  • The school bag should have 2 broad, padded straps and kids should be taught to use both straps (not hang their bag off one strap on one shoulder).
  • Adjust the straps so that the backpack rests just above their waist and not on the bum. In this position, the bag should lie flat against the back and the waist straps can now be tied around the waist to support the bag.
  • When children need a lot of books, teach them to use their lockers. Place only what they need before break time into the bag and at break time, they can swap out the first half of the day’s books and place what they need after the break into their backpacks.  This essentially halves their load.  This may take a bit of planning, but they’ll get it.
  • Children should be screened by their Chiropractor once a term to ensure that their spine is developing properly and to adjust any joints that may be causing pain or dysfunction in the spine.

As our children rise to meet the demands placed upon them, it is our duty as parents and guardians to ensure that their development is where it should be.  Encourage them to stay active in some sort of sporting activity, eat well, get fresh air, limit screen time and get enough sleep.  These, along with scheduled Chiropractic care, is a winning combination to developing lifelong healthy habits.

Please keep in touch with us with any questions on Facebook, LinkedIn and email.

Take care,
Dr Monica

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