SCHOOL BAGS AND HEALTH CONCERNS FOR CHILDREN
Oct 7 2015
Over 60 percent of school children with heavy back packs have been found to be suffering from back bone and muscle problems, neck pain and also slouched postures, due to fact that children's bones are soft up to the age of 18 and spine is not too strong to carry the weight on their tender shoulders according to health experts. Ideally, a school bag should weigh 10 per cent of the weight of the child. It was found that students in rural areas carry lighter bags than those in urban areas. The schools bags of ICSE and CBSE students were heavier than that of state board students.
Several government committees to look into the matter has recommended
- Doing away with heavy school bags and urged all education boards to reduce the usage of notebooks and textbooks to make way for tablets and also provide study materials on websites.
- The committees has also provided specimen of timetables, suggesting schools to conduct lectures/ periods of only three subjects in a day (two periods for one subject) instead of six.
- They even asks teachers to regularly check the bags of students to stop them from carrying unnecessary things. They recommends students to carry only light polymer bags than heavy fancy bags.
Health experts say that children can avoid muscle strains and posture problems if they buy the right backpacks and carry them correctly,
- Select a backpack with well-padded shoulder straps to help protect the shoulders and neck. These straps should be adjusted so the pack fits snugly against your child’s back. A pack hanging loosely from the back can pull a child backward and strain muscles.
- Select a smaller backpack for your younger child. The backpack itself should be light in weight.
- Consider a pack with a waist belt to help distribute the weight of the pack evenly.
- A loaded backpack should weigh between 10 and 15% of a child’s body weight, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
- Help your child learn to carry the pack evenly weighted with straps over each shoulder. Place heavier items, like books, at the bottom and arrange other materials so they won’t slide around in the backpack.
- Encourage your child to check the contents daily and leave unnecessary items at home or at school.
- Show your child how to bend at the knees when putting on a backpack. He or she shouldn’t bend over at the waist when wearing or lifting a heavy backpack.
- Help your child learn back-strengthening exercises to build up the muscles required to carry a backpack. A pediatrician, health professional or athletic trainer can suggest some proper exercises.
- Encourage your child to tell you if he’s feeling back or neck pain, and get your pediatrician’s advice if he does.