It is a highly concerning issue today that how badly a child is affected by carrying a heavy school bag at the time of going and returning from the school. From the toddler stage when your child just steps into the school premises he/she has to carry a minimum weight of school bag while that phase of life is just for playing and listening rhymes. They are overburdened by the responsibilities of taking care of their school bags, water bottle, and many more things. Parents are busy enough that they are also pressurized to keep their toddlers in kindergartens at a very early age. Due to the social scenario, there is no caregiver in a nuclear family for taking care of the children. And the result is children are losing their childhood badly at a very early stage of life. They are burdened with bags, books, and unnecessary stresses of studies. Carrying weights also harm them physically. Researchers say heavy school bags affect their spine, shoulders, and neck badly and push them to a prolonged suffering.
Young children are developing serious spinal deformities. They are forced to bend forward by carrying heavy-weighted and oversized school bags. Their hips compensate for the heavy weight on their back. As a result, they grow with an unnatural posture alignment and low back pain.
In maximum cases, there is no serious symptom a child expresses but, in the long terms, they develop imbalances in their body that can affect their nervous system. Not only it affects their present but it makes their spine more vulnerable to get injuries in the near future.
Children’s school bags should not exceed more than 10% of their body weight
When a school bag is too heavy or oversized the child has to compensate it by tilting the body forward responding to the effects of gravity. It changes the alignment of the child’s posture and increases the tension on the backbone. The heavyweight bags may damage the shoulder muscles also due to the suppression effect. Many states impose a regulation that no child is allowed to carry a weight that exceeds 10% of their body weight.
The short-term effects
Children may get spinal stress and possibly they may have pain and discomfort in their back and shoulders. It may lead to damages of tissues but, in maximum cases, there is no noticeable symptom and the result is the situation stays untreated and neglected.
The long-term effects
Imbalanced posture alignment is a common long-term effect of carrying heavy backpacks. And it can affect the strength of the nervous system. An imbalanced spinal alignment affects negatively on the connection between the brain and body. Serious nervous disorders, chronic headache, and other painful symptoms may arise as a long-term effect of carrying a heavy weight on shoulders.
How spinal health and brain performance are related
Developing a good brain health it is essential to have a proper alignment and movement of the spine. Impetus created by the spinal movement keeps the brain charged like how a battery does. By the proper spinal movement and brain function, one feels energetic after doing exercise and tired after sitting a long time. It the spinal cord becomes stiff or crooked the brain will become poor and slow in working. Essential impulses released by the spine result a proper balance between the brain and the body. Affected or injured spine lowers the brain and body performances.
Some possible solutions to help this issue
- Parents should be careful that the bag a child uses is light and good in quality.
- The pressure should be equal on both shoulders.
- Parents should take the advice of doctors to know if their children have proper spinal alignment or there is an abnormality that can be serious later.
- Children must be more active and they should not sit continuously but need to take short breaks between sittings. It ensures that their spinal supporting muscles get the strength to send healthy impulses to the brain from the spinal movement.
- Parents should make children conscious about spinal problems. It develops slowly without any noticeable symptom. They should be encouraged to practice as many physical activities as possible. Use of tablets and smart phones should be reduced as these are the severe stressors.
How your child carries backpacks and what the type of the backpack is, are two important issues to consider
- A bag should not exceed 10% of the child’s body weight when packed.
- The size should be appropriate according to the height and age of the child.
- The bag should be sturdy and has broad and padded shoulder straps.
- The child must not carry it over one shoulder but he/she should use both shoulder straps always.
- The length is very vital in this regard. The straps should be adjusted in such manner that the bag stays just above the child’s waist always.
- Parents are guided not to overload the bag. Ensure that extra books, copies and other items would not make the bag heavier.
- Allocation of books, copies, and other items are very vital to look after. It is better to place the heavier items at the base of the bag.
- For any kind of musculoskeletal discomfort, parents must consult physiotherapist as soon as possible.
- Parents should not neglect the issue if the child gets any discomfort on his/her spine, shoulders, and back. Having an excellent posture and a great spine health, children and their parents need to follow the doctor’s advice.
- It needs a special concern for the junior students between 10-14 years of age. Their spine goes through a critical stage of development at that time. As a parent, you should keep in mind that the extra load of bags can be dangerous to disrupt the growth of your child’s mental and physical health that he/she will suffer a lifetime.
There is no doubt that this is an everyday working load for students. Parents, teachers, and educational institutions should give their kind and careful attention on this issue that each child enjoys their education joyfully instead of getting pains and stresses. Some simple awareness can give our next generation a better musculoskeletal health and a life free from pains.