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Work & School Bags

school bag

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.