What Should Be the Ideal Weight of Your Kids School Backpacks

When we send kids to school, we always make sure that they are carrying notebooks and textbooks as well as stationary. However, have we ever wondered if the backpack they are carrying is heavier than their body weight could actually carry. At the surface level it may look like that they can easily carry 30-40 percent of their body weight, but is it ok for the kids to carry heavy load to the school?

How Much School Bags Should Weigh According to the Experts

How much should your kid’s school bags actually weigh? What do experts say about the recommended weight for school backpacks?

Recommended School Backpack Weight

Based on the kinematic analysis, the researchers from the University of Granada, Spain and Liverpool John Moores University, UK analyzed 49 primary school pupils with a focus on the posture of their trunk and lower limbs. They analyzed the kids while they walked free without carrying any weight, walked with traditional school backpacks, and pulled a backpack trolley. The load these kids carried were made to carry was 10 per cent, 15 per cent, and 20 per cent of their body weight. (Kinematic is a branch of mechanics that studies motion of bodies without considering the force that cause them to move.)

The research concluded that the kids should not carry a school backpack that weighs more than 10 percent of their body weight. The kids also should not pull a backpack trolley that weighs over 20 percent of their weight.  Based on kinematic analysis, the researcher established that the areas that are most affected while carrying backpacks or pulling backpack trolley are hip and trunk (proximal extremities) compared to knee and ankle (distal extremities).

What Are the Consequences of Carrying Heavy School Backpacks For Children

Heavy school bag has adverse effect on spine. Carrying heavy school bags for too long can result in spinal deformities. Children carrying heavy school bags in long run develop wrong body posture. Due to heavy load they stoop, which strain muscles on the neck, shoulder, back, and hips.  The symptoms or complications may not show immediately, however, if the children develop improper body posture for too long they will put their nervous system in danger. They will be vulnerable to spinal injuries. Research shows that carrying heavy backpacks result in musculoskeletal pain.

Why Kids Should Not Carry School Bag That is More Than 10 Percent of Body Weight

There are short term and long term effects of heavy school bags. Short term effects include pain and discomfort in the neck, back, hip, and spinal. Long term effect includes an imbalance in the postural alignment, spinal disc slippage (herniated disc) and other spinal injuries, muscle tear, damage in the nervous system etc. Apart from physical symptoms, carrying heavy load also affects brain function in the kids. A spinal injury has an adverse effect on brain performance because impulses created by spinal movement improve brain function.  Any problem in the spine will hinder brain and body performance.

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