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Is a heavy backpack weighing you child down?

Between books, tablets and sports equipment, the average school backpack can soon get very. As a guide, your child shouldn’t be carrying more than 10% of their bodyweight.

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How heavy is too heavy regarding a backpack
The rules are slightly different for pull-bags on wheels – the advice is to limit these to 20% of your child’s weight. For a 40Kg child, that would mean a maximum bag weight of 8kg.

Kids have enough to carry already

  • Heavy backpacks pull your child backwards, and the body then tries to compensate. This can lead to compression of the spine, and, over time, to rounded shoulders and an unnaturally curved back.
  • When a child is carrying too much, they are more likely to have poor posture and to drag their feet.
  • Other issues can include muscle weakness, asymmetry and pain. If they typically carry their backpack on just one shoulder, they will end up with pain just on that side.
  • Heavy bags can also caused pinched nerves and even tingling sensations in the arms or hands.
  • With a heavy backpacks, falling is much more likely.

Tips to lighten the load

  1. Use a roller bag where possible.
    • However, even these can be problematic if you child regularly has to carry them up flights of stairs.
  2. Find the right backpack.
    • Choose a lightweight design
    • Look for a bag with wide, load-bearing straps
    • Lots of compartments can help distribute weight
    • Padding makes any load more comfortable
    • Wide straps and padding on the straps and back
  3. Replace textbooks with online resources
  4. If your child’s school has lockers, use one!
  5. Encourage a weekly declutter. Clean out your backpack weekly.
  6. Invest in a lightweight lunchbox.
  7. Pack the bag with heaviest items where they will be closest to your child’s back, and use side pockets to distribute the weight.
  8. Encourage two-shoulder carrying and bending from the knees when picking it up.


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