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What Should Be the Ideal Weight of Your Kids School Backpacks: How Much School Bags Should Weigh According to the Experts

What Should Be the Ideal Weight of Your Kids School Backpacks: How Much School Bags Should Weigh According to the Experts

My life as a school going kid was terrible; I was somewhat like a porter with a heavy load on my back. I remember my days in elementary school. My school backpack was so heavy that I could never carry by myself to the school just about 10-15 blocks away. In my junior high, I used to have 8 classes. I had to carry 8 text books, 8 notebooks, and other stationery. High school days were even worse. My school backpacks weighed about 6-7 kg and my body weight was around 50 kg. Our parents and teachers never saw anything wrong in this.  Carrying a heavy bag to school was very common those days. And no one talked about what should be the ideal weight of the kids’ school backpacks.

If you have school going kids, have you ever considered about the load they are carrying to school? Do you think they are carrying recommended weight, or they are carrying more than the recommended load for school backpacks? Well, how much should your kid’s school bags should actually weigh? What do experts say about the recommended weight for school backpacks?

Recommended School Backpack Weight

According to the experts, children should never carry school backpacks that are more than 10 percent of their body weight. In other words, if your child is 20 kg, his school backpack should not weigh more than 2 kg, likewise for a kid of 50 kg, her school bag should be less than 5 kg.

The conclusion for the ideal weight for school backpacks has been brought out by the researchers from the University of Granada, Spain and Liverpool John Moores University, UK.

Based on the kinematic analysis, the researchers 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 is more than 10 percent of their body weight and should not pull a backpack trolley that is more than 20 percent of their body 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

One of the major consequences of carrying heavy school backpacks for kids is the neck, back and shoulder problems. Kids who carry more than 10 percent of their body weight are prone to the neck, back and shoulder pain. Another consequence related to carrying heavy load is related to the adverse effect on growth plates, which may hinder natural growth in kids. This could also result in arthritis later in life.

In order to avoid consequences related to carrying heavy backpack, experts recommend carrying light weight backpacks, which is less that 10 percent of the body weight. They also suggest that kids should use backpacks that are designed in a way that the weight is put on shoulder and adjustable straps that prevent heavy loads from moving or being pulled down. Parents should make sure that you are giving life-long protection against injury.

Heavy school bag also 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

When a child carries heavy weight, he will compensate the balance by tilting forward. This will not only alter the body posture, but also put pressure on spine cord, skeleton and muscles.

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.

9 comments found

  1. I think that children should not carry any backpacks. Their assignments should be completed in the school and when they reach their home, they may use their home based books for learning new things. They should not carry the same load from home to school and vice-versa.

  2. Very good article, and I think that the school educational officials should do something about it, as carrying way too heavy schoolbags may effect children’s back.

  3. This is very important considering the weights of books are on higher side now and excess weight will cause pain in kids back.

  4. Many bags are not designed for wearing it every day and for big weights. About these things manufacturer should think more about. Even you find such bag, it is much more expensive than rest of bags on market.

  5. I think ideal weight should be as per the age of the kids but we should try to minimize the weight they carry and probably that’s why I see parents carry school bags of their kids.

  6. I always make sure that my child is not burdened with a heavy school backpack. When ever I feel that the school bag is too heavy for the child, I always bring this issue to the school administration.

  7. What about adults? What should be the ideal weight for their backpacks. I hear in some countries people carry as much weight as their body weight.

  8. Really beneficial post for us we come to know various important information which is very useful to us , thanks for sharing so nice site to us.

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