6 tips to prevent bad posture in children due to heavy school bags

A spine surgeon suggests how parents can improve their child's posture by choosing the right school bag.

How often does your heart break seeing your child carry that heavy backpack to school? Apart from the mental burden of studies and homework, the 2-kilo weight that your child has to carry between your home to the school and back is causing spine and back problems. Dr Shumayou Dutta FASSI, MS (Ortho), Consultant Minimally Invasive Spine Surgeon, Neck & spine clinic, Kolkata writes how heavy school bags affect your child's health and what you could do to lighten the burden. Read on.

Children have become a frequent feature of a spine specialist's outpatient department across the country. This shouldn t come as a surprise. Every morning as the nation awakes, children are set off to school to outshine and outdo. Children carrying heavy school bags exposed to spinal injury

Heavier than the weight of expectations on them is the weight of the school bags they carry. Eight periods a day equates to eight textbooks, eights notebooks, tiffin box and a full litre of water a concerned mother told me when I was puzzled at how could the bag weigh so much. Her child, along with many others, suffers from frequent back pain. Another 13-year-old girl told me that many of her seniors in school suffer from spondylosis ! Why does a 13 year old girl even know the word spondylosis I wondered. Why don t schools use tablets? That way a child can have all the encyclopaedias in the world in their backpack at the weight of a single notebook. But that s another debate. Here's are the ill-effects of carrying a heavy school bag.

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As children today have no choice but to drag these heavy bags to school, let's see what can be done so that our future generation doesn t crumble under the weight we put on them (literally and figuratively). Here are some handy tips for parents to prevent spine and posture problems in children.

1 All in the bag

Bags should be made of a light material. If that equates to an expensive bag, its still worthwhile and cheaper than getting expensive treatment.

2 Strap it up

The bag should have both shoulder straps and a waist belt for even distribution of the weight. The straps should be padded and at least 2 inches wide.

3 Wear bag on both shoulders

Encourage the child to wear his school bag on both shoulders right from the beginning so that it develops into a habit.

4 Heavy ones first

Heavy objects should be loaded first, followed by light ones. If despite all the above the child is still bending / slouching forward to carry it, then unload some contents till he can stand straight with it.

5 Squat and lift, don t bend

The child should squat to lift the bag and put it onto his shoulders as opposed to bending from his back.

6 The right posture

Encourage them to adopt straight back posture whenever sitting, rather than slouching.

Image source: Shutterstock

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