A backpack, a school bag; various designs, sizes, shapes, and accessories. There are lots of different types available on the market, often at extremely different prices. So, how are you supposed to pick the right one? The priority for children is what the bag looks like – they have to be cool and that’s that. However, the perfect backpack should not only be cool, but it should also be practical and, above all, safe to be worn by a child. What should we pay attention to when choosing the perfect backpack for our child?
- adjusting to the child’s height and weight
- it should not be wider than the child’s shoulders
- its upper edge should be level with the child’s shoulders
- its lower edge should be level with the child’s lumbar spine
- weight an empty backpack should not be heavier than 1kg
- backpacks with a metal frame should be avoided
- shape ergonomics
- wide, adjustable shoulder straps (braces) will enable the backpack to be adjusted so that it can be put on and taken off easily, while ensuring it fits tightly onto the user’s back
- a properly shaped ‘back’ of a backpack will ensure its stiffness and stability
- an additional chest strap will ensure proper weight distribution
- a reinforced, stiffened bottom prevents the backpack from deforming
- reflectors placed on the front and on the braces– ensure better visibility which means increased child safety after it gets dark
- practical features
- a comfortable handle – useful for parents who also wear a backpack
- strong and waterproof external fabric – ensures durability
- internal pockets and compartments – help to keep things organized
- side pockets – provide extra space for bottles and small items
ATTENTION Choosing the wrong backpack, carrying a backpack which is too heavy or using your backpack improperly – can all contribute to back pain, decreased lung capacity, and disturbed body equilibrium. and, as a result, lead to serious orthopedic and neuropathic diseases.
If our child’s backpack suits them and has been picked in accordance with the rules set above, how to ensure it is light and carried correctly? Together with your child try to introduce the following so-called healthy backpack habits, i.e.:
- check the weight of a packed backpack on an ongoing basis – it should not exceed 10% of the child's weight;
- use softcover notebooks;
- give up metal water bottles and heavy breakfast containers;
- encourage your child to carry only those notebooks and textbooks that are absolutely necessary for the next day;
- encourage your child to use their school locker (if they have one) and store everything that will not be absolutely necessary at home on a particular day
- encourage your child to check the contents of their backpack every evening and take out the uneaten food and unnecessary gadgets, books, and notebooks;
- make your child wear their backpack on both shoulders – it is very important for maintaining correct posture;
- teach your child to keep heavier things at the bottom of the backpack and lighter things at the top – this will ensure symmetrical weight distribution inside the backpack.
Healthy habits, including healthy backpack habits developed at a young age, pay off in later life and have a direct impact on the health and comfort of every person.
This article is based on the recommendations of the Sensoria Foundation, which runs the ‘Lekki Tornister’ project