Heavy school bags have always been a concern for the parents and the doctors as well, and on the occasion of Universal Children's Day, it is essential that we address this issue, faced by children on a daily basis. It was only some time back that Maharashtra State Government brought into execution a regulation for all the good reasons, that said that a child shouldn't be bearing a weight of her bag exceeding 10 per cent of their actual body weight, e.g. a kid weighing fifty kgs shouldn't carry a bag that weighs over 5 per cent. How Yoga Can Help School Kids Relieve Anxiety.
Carrying heavy bags increases the strain on the child's body so much so that the child's spinal cord can be deformed for life. If you hear your child complain about a backache or difficulty in carrying their bag because it is too heavy, you might want to address the issue immediately instead of brushing it down the carpet. Concerns related to the posture of the children being affected due to heavy bags is on the rise. Mum Pulls Her Kids Out of School Citing Wi-Fi Allergy! But Is Wi-Fi Really Bad For Your Health?
According to Dr Raghavendra KS., Consultant Joint Replacement & Spine Surgeon, Fortis Hospital, 'Carrying heavy backpacks leads to increased strain on the muscles, which results in unusual posture and spine alignment is affected, this can lead to serious spinal deformities.' This happens gradually, and in some time the kids have a deformed back and an affected nervous system. The symptoms of this kind of issues are unfortunately so subtle that they get ignored.
Talking about the symptoms of problems faced by the children due to heavy bags, Dr Raghavendra says,
While kids may not exhibit immediate symptoms, the first indication is a lower back pain. In the long run, they may develop body imbalances which may further lead to deterioration in the condition of the nervous system; this may make them highly susceptible to injuries. Neglecting these aspects might lead to Spinal Deformity also known as ‘Kyphoscoliosis’ in the long run. it is described as an abnormal curvature of the spine.
The expert believes that if the effects of heavy school bags are ignored, here are a few complications you are giving an invitation to.
Lower back curvature
Also called Lordosis, a curve in your spine that is natural, however, too much pressure on the spine could make the curve arch too far inward. It can severely affect your neck and lower back and cause excessive discomfort.
A mild curve in the spinal cord is normal, but if not monitored it can cause an asymmetry that can cause a lot of problems.
Your spinal cord is made up of discs that come under compression when it is exposed to constant pressure. It can occur from anywhere from your neck to your spine.
Damage to shoulder tissues
Shoulder tissues are unique that are both flexible and strong at the same time, constant pressure on the shoulder can cause damage to the shoulder tissues which can even be permanent.
Inhibited mobility in the hands and finger agility
Apart from the spine, neck and nerve, it can also affect the movement of the hands and coordination of the fingers of the child.
The pressure put by the straps of the bag can affect the nerves severely. Your nerves being under constant pressures become restricted and cause damage.
Here are a few things the parents must keep in mind to prevent skeletal and muscular damage in children due to heavy school bags.
- Encourage your child to be more active and discourage them from sitting in an atypical position
- Visits to the doctor in cases of discomfort or pain
- Select a backpack that is appropriate for your child’s height, and it should be lightweight but strong
- Carrying the schoolbag on a single shoulder should be avoided. Make sure that your child uses both padded straps, and secures the waist belt; this promotes good posture
- Ensure the bag is placed at least 2inches above the waist, evenly at the middle of the back
However, we cannot disagree that it is not just the parents' responsibility but of the School administration as well. Their support can really save children's health. Also, it is advised that the kids involve themselves in strengthening exercises or Yoga to overcome spine-related issues.