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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