The new academic year for primary and secondary school students is just around the corner. How prepared is your child? Do they have their school bag as yet?
When shopping for school bags or backpacks, parents often overlook crucial aspects that can negatively impact their children. Take heed and complete one other task in preparing your child for school.

– Choose a bag with wide padded shoulder straps and a padded back. Non-padded straps are uncomfortable and can dig into your child’s shoulders causing harm.

– Remind your child to always use both shoulder straps. Hanging a backpack over one shoulder will lead to strained muscles.

– Make sure your child’s backpack weighs no more than 10% – 20% of your child’s body weight. A heavier backpack will cause your child to bend forward as they try to support the weight on their back, rather than on the shoulders – by the straps.

– Bigger is not necessarily better. The more room there is in a backpack, the more your child will carry and the heavier the bag will be.

– Make sure the backpack is strong and appropriately sized. It should be no wider than your child’s chest.

– The straps should be shortened until the bottom of the bag is just above your child’s waist and not sitting on their buttocks. The backpack should lie flat on their back.

– Pack light. Organise the backpack to use all of its compartments, pack heavier items closest to the centre of the bag.

– A backpack with individualised compartments helps in positioning the contents most effectively. Make sure that pointy or bulky objects are packed away from the area that will rest on your child’s back.

– If the school allows, consider a rolling backpack. This type of bag may be a good choice for students who must carry a heavy load to school. Take caution, however, as some rolling bags are difficult to take up a staircase and may be too bulky if your child uses public transportation.

– Your child’s school may offer the use of student lockers. Find out if this option is available and make use of it. Encourage your child to keep their bulkier books and stationery in the locker.

– Continuously review backpack safety with your child.