Weight of Your Kids School Backpacks: How Much is Too Much

If you are a parent of school-going kids, have you ever weighed your kids’ school bags? Do you know how much your kids’ bags weigh? Has it ever crossed your mind that your kids might be carrying more load on their shoulders than the expert recommendation? By the way, what do the experts regarding the school backpacks, how much weight should the school going kids carry on their backs. In other words, what is the recommended weight for a backpack for your school-going kids?

As a parent of school-going kids, you always make sure that your kids are carrying necessary textbooks, notebooks, and other stationery items. However, have you 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 a 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 percent, 15 percent, and 20 percent of their body weight. (Kinematic is a branch of mechanics that studies the motion of bodies without considering the force that causes them to move.)

The research concluded that school bags should not weigh more than 10 percent of the kids’ body weight. In other words, for a kid of 30-kilo grams, the recommended weight of the school bag is under 3 kilograms. The kids also should not pull a backpack trolley that weighs over 20 percent of their weight.  Based on the kinematic analysis, the researcher established that the areas that are most affected while carrying backpacks or pulling backpack trolleys 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 an adverse effect on the 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 strains 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 results 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. The 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 a heavy load also affects brain function in 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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