In the SPEAR physiotherapy clinic, we spent the summer holidays working on getting families outdoors and living active lifestyles – SPEAR Physio Karen explained that as a clinic we are interested in helping our patients; and that means injury prevention and promoting an active lifestyle are high on our agenda.
With all schools now in full swing for the 2019/2020 school year, we are turning our attention to school bag ergonomics!
Did you know that children can wear school bags for about 175 days a year? Their bones and spine are still growing so are less stable compared to an adults, which means how they wear their school bag can have an impact on their bodies whilst they are developing.
What can you do about it?
A general rule of thumb is that a child should not carry more than 15% of their body weight. A child may develop poor posture and a slouching habit as they try to cope with heavy and poorly positioned bags. Any heavier than 15% and it will modify posture and gait, and increases the risk of neck and back pain.
As a child gets stronger and more used to carrying weight of a school bag, carrying 20% of their body weight across both shoulders or 10% across one shoulder (like with a sling bag) should not cause any harm.
Fitting a back pack.
When a child’s schoolbag is too loose, it can hang too low down their back and cause strain on their shoulders and neck.
Carrying a school back over one shoulder only will not help with even weight distribution of the load and will cause pain and discomfort as the child’s body and bones grow.
A back pack should fit between C7 vertebrae (last neck vertebrae that is most prominent when neck flexed forward) and should rest on the pelvis. A child’s individual torso length determines how large a backpack is required. Wide straps are best for a schoolbag so the load is spread across the shoulders.