Is your child looking awkward while carrying their school bag?
As time goes on kids seem to carry more things. Books, Musical Instruments, Phys Ed and Sporting Gear the list goes on. And this heavy weight can impact their posture and back health.
When I went to school I was in the Army Cadets for four years. We went on outdoor camps and carried various pieces of equipment to stay out overnight. There were heavy loads. To go on long distance walks or exercises I quickly realized that I needed to learn how to carry things efficiently to reduce fatigue.
Things may have changed. But, just in case they haven’t, the best foundation is to learn how to carry your load ergonomically or with the least effect on your body.
This is so important for school kids.
Watching your kids do a short walk with their loaded backpack or school bag before school starts can be a great way to gauge how well fitted the bag is for them. Ask your child how their pack feels. Have a look at how it sits on them. If they feel the need to take it off very quickly there may be issues with how they are wearing it. Listen carefully if they talk about sore shoulders, neck, lower back or headaches. These are some of the signs that can come from an ill-fitting pack.
Thankfully, there has been a lot of thought put into school bags. It’s better if you can go with the backpack where possible. To start with adjust the straps so that the bottom of the pack sits above their bottom. If they come with the waist strap, this is great when things get heavy. It takes some of the load of your child’s shoulders.
Check the shoulder straps to see if there is webbing that allows a chest strap. This can also take pressure off their shoulders.
Packing the bag.
Place heavier items at the bottom of the pack and closer to the spine where you can. E.g. Books and shoes. This helps to centralize the mass.
When your child’s pack fits well, they will be more comfortable, and it is easier for them to carry it. They will have less pain and aches, so that they can get on with their learning and enjoyment of the school year.
If after trying a few of the measures above, your child still doesn’t look comfortable or is suffering from problems in their neck, shoulders or lower back. You may have questions or feel that there is something else that needs to be addressed, we are only too happy to help. If you like you can take pictures of your child with the back pack on from the side, front and back and email them to us. This can give us a way to do a basic postural assessment.