School Bags and Your Child’s Posture

Your child’s health and well being is without a doubt your number one priority. During childhood, adolescence and into teenage years the musculoskeletal system is experiencing a lot of growth. As Chiropractors we recognise the importance that correct posture plays in the prevention of musculoskeletal injuries. One common culprit which contributes to poor posture in chichildren-posture-clinicldren are their school bags.

A recent study of Year Five and Year Eleven students compared the differences in posture of students who did not carry a school bag with those who did. This study demonstrated that carrying a school bag did in fact cause postural changes in both groups of students. It also concluded that carrying a school bag was identified as an external load that may have an effect on the developing spine. [1]

We can’t eliminate school bags all together, but we can ensure that we are using them in the safest possible manner. To assist you we have put together a handy guide which will assist you in minimising the stress placed on your child’s spine and any consequent postural changes.

Things to consider:

1. Bag Weight: The recommended weight of any bag should not exceed 10% of the child’s body weight

2. Bag Style: The best style of bag is undoubtedly a back pack. This will ensure that the load is carried evenly and distributed evenly. When fitted properly a back pack should contour tightly to your child’s back. Features of a bag that are beneficial include:

  • Adjustable straps – Ensure you can keep the load as close to the back as possible
  • Hip straps- Assists in the distribution of weight
  • Padding- Adds comfort to the bag
  • Compartments – This helps with being able to distribute the weight in the bag as evenly as possible
    You should also AVOID any shoulder bags as these cause imbalances and strains on the body.

3. Lockers: Nowadays most school have lockers. Encourage your child to use them, rather than carry all of their books around with them. This can help reduce the load in the bag. It is also a good idea to ascertain exactly what needs to be taken to school to ensure your child is not bringing things they don’t need.

At Back to Basics we believe in preventative measures, if you feel your child is experiencing any postural abnormalities come in and see one of our Chiropractors to tailor a treatment plan.


[1] Hough PA, Nel M, Smit JE, Malan E, van der Watt, Deacon AF, Grobler L, Bester AM. The Influence of carrying a school bag on the developing spine. Children’s Health Care. 2006;35:339–348

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