Backpacks for schoolchildren – interesting facts and stats
While many of the current bags children use may be fashionable, unless they allow for even distribution across the back they can cause pain. According to an international study, daily backpack carrying is a frequent cause of discomfort for school children. School backpacks were felt to be heavy by 79.1% of children, to cause fatigue by 65.7%, and to cause back pain by 46.1%i.
Figures from a study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine have shown that 68.6% of children using hand held school bags and 53.7% of children carrying a bag on one shoulder are experiencing back pain. Research conducted by the Chiropractors’ Association of Victoria has found that 46% of children carry bags in excess of the recommendation with 12% carrying up to 20% of their body weight.
Some tips to consider regarding school backpacks:
- Spread the load – wearing a correctly fitted backpack can ease backaches and pains
- Plan ahead – don’t let children carry lots of equipment at the same time
- Look for backpacks with wide, padded shoulder straps, which ergonomically contour to a child’s body
- Encourage children to wear backpacks using both straps, over both shoulders
- Never buy a backpack wider than chest width, or lower than the hollow of the lower back
- Do not exceed 10% of the child’s body weight in the backpack. For example, a child of 40kg should carry less than 4kg in their backpack
How can chiropractors help?
Chiropractors are uniquely positioned to educate parents, teachers and students about spinal care through their five-year university training. They are skilled in the early detection of postural problems that are caused by poor carrying habits, ill-fitting backpacks or long periods on computers/gaming consoles.
i Negrini, S., & Carabalona, R. (2002). Backpacks on! School children’s Perceptions of Load, Association With Back Pain and factors Determining the Load. Spine, 27(2), 187-195. ii Troussier B., Davoine P., de Gaudemaris R., Fauconnier, J.M., & Phelip, X. (1994). Back pain in school children; A study among 1178 pupils. Scandinavian Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine, 26, 743-746.
Information from Spartanss Australia