Protect their back

Last updated 08:43 25/01/2013
school bags
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BAGGED DOWN: A correctly fitted schoolbag will keep them in good shape for the future.

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You don't have to look far to see a child being weighed down by their school bag and with another school year already begun now is the perfect time to ensure your child's spine is being protected.

Dr Helen Alevaki, President of the Chiropractors Association of Australia Victoria (CAAVic) stresses the damage that can be done to young and developing backs from heavy schoolbags.

Kids carry schoolbags for around 2500 days of their early life, which can really impact their bodies in the long run. 

"Looking after the growing spine is hugely important - kids carry schoolbags for around 2500 days of their early life, which can really impact their bodies in the long run. As a mother, I know how heavy kids' backpacks can get, and it's essential that we do all we can to lighten the load and ensure correct posture and practice."

Along with Dr Angus Pyke, she has developed these simple steps to help you know how much is too much for your kids' backs.

  • The schoolbag should not weigh more than 10 per cent of your child's body weight.
  • Ensure the schoolbag is no wider than your child's chest and that the weight can be evenly distributed across their back.
  • Choose a backpack with broad, padded shoulder straps and waist straps - and encourage your child to use them!
  • The schoolbag should always be worn over both shoulders - never carried over both shoulders or held by the straps.
  • Only pack what is needed for the day - high school students should make use of their lockers to store heavy books.
  • Place all heavy items at the base of the pack, close to the spine, for better distribution of the weight.

Making healthy choices now can save your children from a lifetime of back problems in the future.

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