POLL: School bags a weighty issue

BACKPACKS can cause irreversible damage to a child’s back and Orange mother Wendy Parolin is calling on parents to consider giving their children a rolling backpack as an alternative. 

Mrs Parolin’s concerns are echoed by chiropractor Andrew Blyth of Body and Spine Solutions, who says heavy backpacks and poor posture at school could lead to back problems down the track.

He said parents should seek help early for the best chance of avoiding back problems. 

“Using the roller bag could be one solution,” he said. 

“Most kids’ backpacks are either too wide for them or too long.”

Mrs Parolin recently bought her son Tommy a rolling backpack and is hoping the trend will catch on.

“He loves it, he tears around the house with the wheels,” she said. 

“Health and fitness is my business, and I’m hoping other parents might realise the benefits.”

Mr Blyth said the recommendation for the weight of a school bag was the bag should be no more than 10 per cent of the child’s body weight, but studies showed most children carried about 17 per cent. 

However he did not agree that older children should use the rolling bags.

“They are forced to bend down too low and that can cause some damage,” he said. 

Mr Blyth was also concerned about how children used computers, laptops and iPads. He said often they were hunched over while sitting or lying on the floor.

“A back support would be really useful, even just a rolled up towel with two bands at the end,” he said.

“Just pop it above your bottom and below your rib cage.”

nicole.kuter@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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