If you want your child to be fit and healthy through the school year, you must choose the right school bag for him/her. Your child’s school bag will be your child’s constant companion through the year. And you must understand what you need to look for to choose the most comfortable backpack for school use.
Why is it important to research before buying kids backpacks for school?
- Learning in the early years can be severely affected by the use of the wrong school bag. Carrying a heavy back pack to school can cause pain in the back and other parts of the body, non-specific physical discomforts and stress. And this can lead to the child paying less attention in class which can adversely affect their learning in school.
- In primary school – children are often required to carry several books to school and the weight of these books can be considerable. To ensure that your child does not suffer from the adverse effects of carrying a heavy load – it is important to buy nothing but the best backpack for use in primary school
- As children grow older they have slightly sturdier bodies and can manage the weight better by the time they reach senior school. However, it is still important to buy the best backpacks for school use because during the teen years your child’s body grows rapidly and sometimes asymmetrically. Buying the wrong backpack even at this stage can lead to pain in the back called backpack syndrome.
- If your child insists on a bag that looks fancy but does not have the features required to keep your child’s spine and shoulders safe – buy it but do not let it be used for school. Allow your child to use it for extracurricular activities instead.
Features of the perfect school bag
- A Backpack Needs to Fit Properly – The perfect school bag for your child should fit your child’s body perfectly. Choose the proper size. Do not buy a very large bag for your small child with the plan that it will be useful for later years when the child has more books. Children tend to overload large bags and pack them incorrectly. This can lead to body aches and pains.
- The centre of the bag should be at the level of the waist of the child and it is best if the bag also has an adjustable waist belt. The weight of the bag must be borne by the pelvis and transferred to the legs. The shoulder and the spine must not bear the brunt of the weight.
- Since bags are mass manufactured, the bag you buy for your child should have adjustable buckles to allow you to adjust the length of the shoulder straps until the centre of the bag coincides with your child’s waist.
- Look for broad straps with padding for the shoulders – It is important that the parts of the bag that come into contact with your child’s body are padded so that the weight is distributed evenly over a large area. So padded school backpacks that have padded straps and back – are the best.
- Go for backpacks with pockets, slots, and dividers to evenly distribute the weight – the best backpack should have many compartments.
- Choose a backpack with a moulded frame and an adjustable waist belt, so that the weight of the backpack can rest on your child’s pelvis instead of their shoulders and spine.
- Quality Counts in Backpacks – Always buy bags from good brands. Bags that are locally manufactured often have attractive colours and pictures on them to attract children – but they rarely follow the manufacturing principles that keep children’s backs safe.
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Things to keep in mind when choosing the best backpack for your child
- Buy a bag from a good company
- Pinch the padding on the shoulder straps to see if it bunches up or not
- Consider all materials and extras that need to be carried to school by your child before you buy the school bag
Also read How to help your child settle in school
Give your child tips for packing the school bag for good spinal health
- First make room for all essentials
- Divide the books into the various compartments of the bag
- Place the larger books at the back of the bag so that they are closer to the back and their weight goes directly to the pelvis
- Make a plan with your child so that the correct number of books are carried to school and the bag is not overloaded.
- The total weight carried should not be more than 10% of the child’s body weight. And this includes the weight of the lunch box, the water bottle and any sports kits that need to be carried.
- Children must be repeatedly reminded to carry their back packs on both shoulders. When school bags are carried on one shoulder – the weight of the books on one side can adversely affect the growing spine
- Use soft binding for notebooks and textbooks
- When your child carries the bag – notice if the bag is pulling her/him backwards or forwards. Being compelled to bend backward or forward because of the weight of the school bag is sure to cause backache. Help your child to rethink the things to be carried and also help your child to rearrange his/her things in the backpack. A straight posture is a must for long-term good health.
Also read Why does my child fall sick so often?
It is ideal to go and see for yourself when you choose a school bag for your child. Listen to your child and ask for his/her opinion before you buy a bag. Listen carefully and identify areas of struggle for your child. Money is definitely a factor to be considered when buying a backpack for school and you have to keep your family budget in mind when buying the bag. However it also important to consider the distance travelled by your child to school every day and the length of time your child carries the bag as a result. Find some people you trust for being good shoppers and ask for their opinions on bags before you buy.
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