The dangers of lifting with one’s back instead of one’s knees and repetitively lifting heavy weights are already known and recognised in occupation health, safety, and welfare legislation across the country, including in the new harmonised national Workplace Health and Safety Model Code to which Queensland, New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, Tasmania, South Australia, and the Northern Territory already have aligned their state standards. But many school children are proportionally lifting on a daily basis back packs that would be considered a safety risk if they were being lifted by adults in the workplace. It is important that children are holding school bags correctly, and that they are using backpacks that are the correct size for their frames. Although it may be more expensive to buy a smaller backpack that a child grows out of more quickly, it can be beneficial for their spinal health, and using kids school bag tags can help increase the chance that they will be returned should they be lost or left behind somewhere.
The risk factors for a back injury from a school bag include:
• A bag weighing more than ten per cent of a child’s weight: for example, a twenty four kilogram child should not carry more than two thousand and four hundred grams on their back.
• Carrying the bag in one’s hands, rather than on the back.
• Slinging the bag over one shoulder only.
The Australian Physiotherapy Association suggests that school bags with padded and adjustable straps for the shoulders, chest, and waist are preferable. Don’t forget to label bags and their contents with shoe labels in Australia. This means that if any items or the bag itself is left at school, a friend’s house, or elsewhere, then there is a much better chance of having them returned as opposed to an unlabelled item. While they may not be suitable for all applications, iron on name labels are preferable for items of uniform and the like, because they are much less likely to detach or fade than writing in permanent texta or a sticky label.
In order to minimise the weight that your child carries each day, suggest to them that they only take home what is absolutely necessary each night to complete their homework, and leave the rest at home. Make them clean their school bags out on regular intervals, to make sure that they are not carrying around excessive junk that is adding weight to their bag. A school bag with a good fit will be fairly snug against the child’s back, rather than hanging from the top of their body. Be sure to label all of the contents of young children’s school bags with clear sticker labels or a similar name label! This minimises permanent losses when children are constantly unpacking and repacking their bags to take home only necessary items and leave the rest at school. Fo rmore info about name tags in Australia, visit https://www.ozlabels.com.au/