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How to choose the right schoolbag

How to choose the right schoolbag

Current rating: 4 from 3 votes.

The wrong kind of schoolbag can cause problems for life. Here are a few tips!

Drive by any school and you’ll see kids buckling under the weight of their schoolbags. The fact is that some kids carry schoolbags that are far too heavy – so much so that physiotherapists and chiropractors often see kids who complain of pain and discomfort.

Poorly designed schoolbags can cause back damage, and carrying heavy loads incorrectly can result in headache, back and neck strain, fatigue, muscle imbalance, spinal pain and even curvature of the spine. Kids are most at risk when they have their growth spurt between the ages of 10 and 14 years.

Here are a few tips for selecting schoolbags:

Don’t overload the bag

The load in your child’s school bag shouldn’t exceed 10% of their body weight. Children aged between six and eight years should carry no more than 3-6kg, while youngsters from 10 to 16 years shouldn’t carry more than 6-8kg.

Get your kids into a habit of checking their timetables and packing the books they need for that day only.

Pack and carry the schoolbag correctly

The way in which your child’s schoolbag is packed can also make a massive difference.

Show your little ones how to pack the heavy items in the back of their bags, as this will reduce the gravity pull.

Also show them how to use both shoulder straps. A bag on one shoulder will load the spine unevenly, which can result in muscle imbalances, a dropped shoulder or a curvature of the spine. A bag carried on loose straps, hanging low and loose, places strain on the lower back.

Contracted chest muscles, protruding shoulders and rounded backs are often the result of trying to carry heavy book bags. This posture problem often stretches into adulthood.

What to look out for

Going for a cheap bag generally isn’t a good idea, as these bags are guaranteed to fall apart after a while. Instead, look for a schoolbag that has as many of these features as possible:

  • A properly researched spinal support system: This will offer stability and support and ensure even distribution of weight, with perfect contact between the shoulders and the lower back. It will also prevent muscle strain.
  • Thick back padding. The bag’s padding should be strategically placed for comfort to help cushion the load.
  • Anatomic air system. Look out for this special air-ventilation feature on back padding.
  • Wide, curved shoulder straps. These will reduce pressure on the shoulder and neck area.
  • A growth buckle. This should be adjustable to allow for growth and ongoing use.
  • A tough firm base. This will keep the bag upright for easy access. It will also help protect the bag and the books inside.
  • A rain cover. This should be easily accessible so that it’s easy to whip out when necessary.
  • High quality. Durable fabrics and superior finishes will ensure that the bag lasts a long time.
  • The bag should be medically endorsed by physiotherapists and chiropractors.
  • An extended guarantee. This ensures a value-for-money purchase that will last several years.


The bag that has it all

Great news is that school bags that adhere to all these important principles are now available at Pick n Pay, just in time for the start of the new school year.

TOTEM schoolbags are orthopaedic backpacks, engineered for durability and back protection. The new Ergonomic backpack range – featuring stylish, high-tech, padded backs and wide straps – is ideal for teens and university students.

Get a TOTEM schoolbag and pencil case from your nearest Pick n Pay Hypers, corporate or family store. It's worth it!

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Current rating: 4 from 3 votes.
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