Work & School Bags
Poor choice or inappropriate use of a work or school bag, can lead to back, neck, headache & shoulder pain. In children especially, this can put them at risk of permanent spinal damage.
When choosing a good school or work bag, there are a few things that must be looked for:
- Appropriate size –it shouldn’t be wider than your shoulders.
- Lightweight – when a school bag is packed, it shouldn’t weigh more than 10% of a growing child’s body weight. So, for a 40-50kg child, their school bag should only weight 4-5kg when packed (approximately three medium text books & a lunch box).
- Sturdy & water-resistant (or have a rain cover) – so that the bag doesn’t sag.
- Moulded frame or adjustable hip/waist strap – so most of the weight rests on the hips & pelvis, rather than the shoulders & spine. For those of you who walk, run or cycle to work, a waist/hip belt is particularly important.
- Adjustable, broad, padded shoulder straps – to distribute weight evenly.
- Padded back – for comfort.
- Chest strap – to help stabilise the load & stop the straps slipping off the shoulders.
- Have several pockets for even weight distribution.
- Avoid heavy briefcases & handbags – if they must be used, alternate the shoulder/arm they’re held in.
Even the perfect bag can cause pain & injury if it is not used appropriately.
Here are some tips for using your school or work bag properly:
- Always carry the bag over both shoulders.
- Always make sure the bag is close to the spine & stable.
- When putting your bag on, you should either lift it by the loop with both hands (knees bent) & place one strap over the shoulder then the other, or put it on the edge of a desk & loop both arms through together.
- Make sure the waist strap sits firmly where intended.
- Make sure the shoulder straps are adjusted so you don’t have to lean forward to carry the load, & the weight sits on the hips.
- Make sure the bag is packed properly – pack the heaviest items closest to the spine, & make sure items aren’t able to move around.
- Repack your bag daily so that you only take what is needed for that day.
- Make use of lockers/storage at work/school if available.