What Impact is Your Child’s Back Pack Having On Them?

What Impact is Your Child’s Back Pack Having On Them?

Imagine that you were asked by your personal trainer to wear a weighted vest which was 10-15% of your body weight between 8am and 3pm, Monday to Friday for 12 years.

How do you think that you would cope with carrying that extra 6-10kgs on a daily basis? You would probably get a sore back, neck or shoulder right?

In essence this is what many people are asking their children to do when they pack their bag for school every day. Next time that your child complains that their bag is heavy or their back hurts from carrying their school bag it might be worthwhile thinking about the above analogy.

Obviously, often this hard to avoid but below are 5 some simple tips which may help lighten the load for your child and reduce the risk of them sustaining an injury as a result of carrying a heavy back pack:

  1. Ensure that your child’s school bag does not exceed 10% of their body weight – pack only what is necessary for that day and encourage your children to only bring home what they need that night
  2. Choose a bag with a padded back which can mould to the shape of your child
  3. Encourage your children to wear both shoulder straps in order to distribute the weight of the bag evenly across the body. The use of chest and waist straps (although not always considered cool) also help alleviate the weight placed on the child’s shoulders and back
  4. Choose a school bag with multiple compartments and pack the heaviest objects (e.g. books, laptop) closest to the child’s body. This allows the weight to be placed closer to the child’s centre of gravity and decreases the lever arm of the weight through the back.
  5. If you have packed only the bare necessities and still think your child’s bag is too heavy consider a separate carry bag for some items.

Any questions regarding fitting your child’s backpack or on what bag to choose feel free to email jay@geckosports.com.au

Jay Scott-Hunter

Physiotherapist and Co-Owner of Gecko Sports Gold Coast

Etiquette Essentials At The Young Ladies Charm School and Styling Workshop

Etiquette Essentials At The Young Ladies Charm School and Styling Workshop


Sitting in on Mistress Chrissy’s Young Ladies Charm School and Styling Workshop on the Gold Coast was an enriching experience, unlikely to be forgotten by any of its young 8-14 year old attendees.

Nervous schoolgirls filled the room, giggling, jittery and overflowing with wonder. Eagerly inspecting their new parlors, each little one delighted in an assortment of special adornments displayed to play with. Twirling flowers and squishing sponges, little feet playfully swinging under tables. Mistress Chrissy and Assistant Ronnie introduced themselves to the group, overwhelming the room with a buzz of excitement. The girls all squealed, eager to tiptoe into the unknown.

New friends began gently unraveling braids and the styling class began. “Did you know there are four ways to brush your hair?” Mistress Chrissy soothed. The girls looked at each other and giggled, shaking their heads with glee.

Untangled and exhilarated, the little miss’s stood to make their Charm School Oath. “We promise to pursue our passions and believe in our dreams… to give compliments away freely … and to use our charming powers for good…” This was a prominent underlying theme to the day, celebrating self-love, self-worth and a carefree attitude.

Faces were refreshed while Chrissy began inciting ideas about acceptance and frivolity. “Our inner beauty comes from saying yes to things- engaging in life, and having a kind heart. What does having a kind heart mean to you?” “Being caring,” “friendly,” “looking after yourself and every one else” were quickly chimed from the crowd.

Lightly dabbing moisturizing tints to their faces, young girls were taught about the benefits of sun protection from a young age and how blusher accentuates a healthy rosy cheek, best achieved by exercising. “Today we’re just having some fun and being a bit silly, practicing and trying new things. Makeup is only really for special occasions when you get bigger and only when Mum says it’s okay.”

A power-posing workshop was guided by Ronnie, demonstrating ways to prepare for an upcoming test or speech by feeling and appearing more confident within yourself. This was received with overwhelming joy by each of the girls.

Tips on beauty sleep, posture and best grooming practices were given while Miss Chrissy began styling each little ladies locks, to suit their individual hair type and personality. A flower for the free-spirited wild child in the room, a doo rag for the edgy girl exuding confidence and a pin curl for little miss with a classically sweet demeanor. Each hairstyle was intricately pieced together with impressive perfection and prowess.

The take home message for the day was one of grace and poise, to practice being the gentle breeze who floats into a room instead of a blustering cyclone. To be kind to others and take care of yourself. Oh, and to compliment another young lady on your way out.

Meningococcal vaccinations: Exploring the debate in Australia

Meningococcal vaccinations: Exploring the debate in Australia

Meningococcal vaccinations: Exploring the debate in Australia


Meningococcal is a rare disease with devastating effects. The very worst case scenarios can involve brain damage, organ failure, and even death. In Australia, these disastrous outcomes can deeply concern parents who aren’t able to vaccinate their child against meningococcal.

Bexsero, a relatively new vaccine, can protect children against the virulent meningococcal strain B.  However, Bexsero is not currently included in the federal government’s National Immunisation Program. This has been a controversial topic amongst parents, especially as pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline announced there would be a global shortage of Bexsero vaccines from the end of 2016.

According to reports, a worldwide shortage resulted from countries such as the United Kingdom and Ireland implementing the Bexsero vaccine as part of their national public health schemes. Globally, there is now a much higher demand for the meningococcal-B vaccination and very little supply available.

Why hasn’t Bexsero been added to Australia’s National Immunisation Program before now?

In 2013, a ruling from the federal Department of Heath determined the meningococcal-B vaccine would save less than 10 lives, over a five year period. However, the cost for implementing these vaccinations would be over $400 million. Unfortunately, this has made meningococcal less of a priority for the government, when compared to other infectious diseases like the measles, mumps and rubella.

Within Australia’s current privatised system, the Bexsero vaccine costs around $120 per injection. This is an expense that most Aussie families cannot easily afford, especially if they have a number of children to care for. Even though meningococcal can respond to intense antibiotic therapy, many parents remain fearful of the disease, which has a fatality rate of 10 – 15%.

Without vaccinations, are Australian children at a higher risk of contracting meningococcal?


“Due to the cost of Bexsero, meningococcal vaccinations are typically reserved for children who might be at increased risk of contracting meningococcal,” explains Dr Harvey, the Deputy Medical Director at House Call Doctor. “For example, children who have been exposed to meningococcal at their school or day-care may need the Bexsero vaccine as an important preventative method.”

Dr Ryan Harvey is in fact one of the few doctors within Queensland who has treated meningococcal occurring in toddlers. Incredibly, all of Dr Harvey’s meningococcal patients have survived and gone on to lead full and enriched lives.

“If parents suspect their child has meningococcal, they should seek immediate medical intervention, as patients can go from seeming their normal selves to needing intensive care within a matter of hours,” says Dr Harvey. “The disease is characterised by a distinctive red, purple or black rash, that does not fade when pressure is applied.”

“Fortunately within our community, meningococcal is still far less prevalent than other infectious diseases, and there is a strong level of public awareness about the disease and its symptoms,” says Dr Harvey.

For more information on the National Immunisation Program, visit the federal Department of Health online.  If you suspect that your child has meningococcal, immediately phone Triple 0 (000) and request an Ambulance. If your child needs acute medical care, that does not warrant an Emergency response, phone House Call Doctor on 13 55 66.