Imagine climbing stairs everyday with a 12 kg backpack assuming your body weight is 60 kg. It’s a tough job. Now, imagine doing it six days a week. That’s exactly what you are forcing your children to do.
A school going child only needs to carry a school bag which weighs less than 10% of their body weight. But, this is not the case today. Most of the children are carrying school bags that weighs more than 20% of their own body weight. This will drastically affect their health, fitness and productivity. This article is about the health hazards associated with heavy school bags and some simple solutions to prevent them. So, let’s get started.
Health issues of carrying a heavy School bag
Some of the common health issues associated with carrying heavy schoolbags as listed by Dr Arun Ram, an orthopedician friend of mine are:
- Neck pain
- Shoulder pain
- Postural changes
- Back ache
- Decreased concentration levels
- Lack of interest to attend school
- Easy fatiguye
- High risk of developing spinal spondylosis
We do not want our children to suffer from these horrible conditions, right? We can help our children by following some of the steps mentioned below:
#1 Check your child’s School Bag
As a parent or local guardian, it is your responsibility to check your child’s school bag for unwanted books and other stuff every day. Check their daily time-table and pack only the books that are required for that particular day. Making your child to carry all the text books and note books every single day is just too much. Umbrellas and rain coats can be avoided in the summer season.
#2 Water Bottles
It is the responsibility of the school authorities to ensure the availability of safe drinking water to children. Most of the schools have installed high quality water purifiers so that the children do not require to carry big water bottles in their school bag every day. The parent teachers association (PTA) of every school must conduct periodic water quality testing of these water purifiers too. If the school is not providing good quality water for the children , it would be a wise decision to ask them to do so as soon as possible. Alternatively, give a 500 ml water bottle to your child to be carried by them in their hand and not in their school bags.
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Schools that provide locker facility to children are doing them a favour by allowing them to carry minimum weight every day to the schools. Children can safely keep their notebooks, projects, instrument boxes, etc in their lockers instead of carrying them in the school bags. If your school has the sufficient funds, raise a notion in the next PTA meeting to build locker facility for the children.
#4 Choosing good quality School Bag
Before every new academic year, parents go for school bag shopping along with their children. The important points to note while choosing the next school bag for your children are:
- Wide shoulder straps that are well padded
- Adjustable straps are a must
- Bags with additional padding in the back are better
- Always choose bags with two straps.. Single straps can cause alignment problems of the back and neck.
- If you plan to carry more weight, consider choosing a bag with waist belt.
- Do not go for additional features like computer pouches, mobile phone holder etc if they are not required at schools.
- Bags made of synthetic materials like nylon are light weight whereas, those made of natural fibres like cotton are eco friendly but heavier.
Always ask your children to wear both the straps of the school bag instead of wearing it on just one side. The American Academy of Paediatrics recommends that the bag should be worn 2 inches above the waist level and not too low. This is also important to prevent spinal disorders in the future.
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#5 Split up Text Books
Another easy way to reduce the weight of school bags is by splitting up big text books into 3 parts (for three terms). The teachers and school authorities should make sure that only 3 subjects are taught every day. This way, the child needs to bring just 3 text books and note books every day. If the school is providing big un-split text books, the parents can do the splitting up job by visiting a nearby book binding shop.
These were 5 solutions to help your children grow in a healthy way without the burden of weight-lifting! If you liked this article, share it with your friends and family. Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
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