Is your child’s backpack too heavy?

back-pain-graph.gifIn the age of the network computer, it seems crazy for school kids to be lugging round heavy backpacks.  Backpacks are much better for the health of their backs than the big canvas/vinyl sports bags that we used in our days – which may have played some role in the scoliosis in my back.

But it’s amazing what some of these things weigh.  We spend a fair bit of time making trips to pick our kids up and convey them places which we’d not make if they didn’t have such heavy bags to lug.

My daughter has the worst of it as she has to add a 2 kilo laptop to all her books.  The whole thing is silly as it would be cheaper and more sensible for her to have a computer at home and one at school and to conduct all her work on the internet.

A very slow legal timebomb for schools.  As concerned parents we rang WorkCover to ask for their advice on do’s and don’ts of these things, and they said it was not their department and that they couldn’t think of anyone in government we could ring.  No doubt there is someone, perhaps deep inside the education department, but judging by our experience they’re not easy to find.

Time for a ‘national strategy’ I think.

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Joshua Gans
16 years ago

I think many schools are moving away from laptops and towards USB keys.

I have watched more kids these days have ‘wheeled bags.’ That seems an improvement but will probably lead to some shoulder injury or something.

I agree: the best solution, move to a system whereby there are no bags and kids bring lunch to school and that is that. The rest should be on a portable drive.

16 years ago

Something it would be sensible to adopt from the Seppos: school lockers, minimising what needs to be lugged back and forth. Although you wouldn’t want to leave a laptop there overnight but schoolkids who have laptops can afford the physio bill anyway.

16 years ago

As someone with a bad back, who lugged a too heavy shoulder bag during years at high school, I STRONGLY support anything to protect young backs. Once broken it can’t be mended, only managed.

16 years ago

My (Aussie) high school had lockers for every student, with time in the morning, at morning tea and lunch to fetch books for the next two lessons (there were six ‘periods’ a day). I didn’t realise how uncommon this was until I started teaching – only about half had a similar system. Some had no lockers at all and the kids had to drag books for five or six subjects to and from school every day. Madness.

16 years ago

I went to six different schools in NSW and only the last one which I started in in Year 9 had lockers. It’s a better idea than flagpoles, that’s for sure.

Dave Bath
16 years ago

Properly designed and worn backpacks, even though extremely heavy (such as what you need for a few days hike in the bush), may be less of a problem than the fashion of so many kids to have the pack almost below the knees.

I wish we’d had backpacks for school in my day, where we often used two traditional schoolbags, 1.5 for books and 0.5 for sport gear.