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Are our children’s school bags too heavy?

As I waved off my eldest to start high school today I was conscious of the enormous rucksack on her back: PE kit, mobile phone, a pencil case stuffed with every florescent coloured pen known to man, the trusty maths kit and that’s before she gets any exercise or text books!

Our children, even at primary age can end up carrying bags that are far heavier than they should be and in some cases this can lead to neck , shoulder or back pain.

Bear in mind these tips when choosing and packing school bags

Prevention is always better than cure, so as a general guideline your child should not be carrying any more than 15% of their body weight .

A third of children use a one strapped bag, this will load the weight onto one shoulder and can easily  lead to neck and shoulder pain. Where possible choose a rucksack with adjustable straps and encourage your child to wear it properly over both shoulders. If they simply won’t entertain the idea of a rucksack advise them to swap the bag to the other shoulder from time to time.

Overloading the bag in an attempt to always be prepared is not advisable. Every night spend a few minutes taking out anything that is not necessary.

Encourage the use of lockers whenever possible.

Adjust the straps of the bag so that it is held close to your childs back.

Don’t load all the heavy items at the bottom , try and evenly distribute them so the bag does not sag down and pull back on the shoulders.

If your child is suffering from back neck or shoulder pain don’t ignore it, get advice from your GP or speak to your local osteopath.