8 Pointers for Buying Schoolbags for Kids

Here are some tips on how to pick the right schoolbag for your child.

1 Backpack

A backpack is better than a sling bag because it distributes the weight of the bag equally on both sides of the body.

Smiling African American young boy holding files and books at school

A sling bag puts all the weight on one side of the body and will cause strain on that side of the body.

2 Padded back

This keeps the sharp edges of items in the bag from jabbing into the back, and causing pain and point pressure. That would limit the movement of that particular spine segment.

3 Shoulder straps

Choose straps that are padded and at least 5cm wide each so that the weight can be distributed over a wider area.

Straps that are too thin and narrow may dig into the shoulders and affect blood circulation. This can lead to numbness and weakness in the arms.

Straps should be adjustable so that the backpack can fit the child’s body snugly.

If the backpack is away from the body, the load pulls the child backwards, causing him to arch backwards and strain his lower back muscles.

4 Chest strap

Chest straps can help prevent the child from slouching to keep the shoulder straps from falling off his shoulders.

5 Hip/Pelvis strap

This redistributes the weight on the shoulders to the bigger and stronger muscles at the waist and hip.

It also reduces rotational stress on the spine when the schoolbag swings about during movement.

Rotational stress on the spine encourages certain spine segments to move more than the others. This may lead to backache.

6 Side straps

These strap the heavy items closer towards the body and reduces loading on the spine and shoulder muscles.

Otherwise, the load pulls the child backwards and may strain his lower back muscles.

7 Individual compartments

These allow items to be kept in separate compartments and prevent them from moving about when the child is walking.

Loose, moving items create dynamic stress for the body, as the body has to adjust to their shifting centre of gravity.

Dynamic stress causes the chest, abdominal and back muscles to have to work harder to counteract the movement of the loose items.

8 Material

Choose material that is lightweight and durable, such as nylon, to avoid adding to the weight of the bag.

Source: Ms Lim Wan Ning, a physiotherapist at National University Hospital

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