Old-Denim-School-Backpack-38426368Summer holidays are nearly over, and once again our children will be burdened with school work, and – in a more physical sense – with school bags.  A new cohort of kids (especially those starting secondary school) will be trying to haul their entire school life back and forth on a daily basis – plus sports kits, musical instruments, etc etc.

What should you look for when choosing a school bag?  Ideally, weight should be carried on the hip girdle, which is much better developed for load-bearing than the shoulders.  So, go for an adjustable waist-belt, as well as wide shoulder straps to even out the load.  Look for a padded back panel to prevent file corners making themselves felt.  Even better, a mesh panel to allow airflow – a sweaty, sticky back is only going to encourage students to resort to slinging their bag over one shoulder alone.  Look for adjustability; both in the shoulder and the waist straps;  this will allow the pack to be carried in the most efficient way.

Top tips for school bags:

  1. Kids should carry around 10%, and no more than 15%, of their body weight.  If there are lockers available at school, encourage your child to use them and think ahead about what they need to be carrying.
  2. Clear out backpacks on a daily basis so they don’t get filled up with out-of-date or unused books and papers.
  3. Pack the bag properly – that means heavier items closest to the child’s back, use compartments to distribute weight as evenly as possible.
  4. Carry the bag properly – that means, use the waist-belt, adjust the straps so the bag is close to the back and not hanging down too far; the top of the pack should be no more than a couple of inches below shoulder height.
  5. Make sure your child knows how to pack and adjust their bag.

There are some “ergonomic” school bags available (such as these from the charity BackCare); or if you look in an outdoor / hiking store you will find packs with good levels of comfort and adjustability (and maybe even something that looks trendy, too!)


  1. Free Range Pilates on September 3, 2013 at 8:12 am

    Great piece Diana, welcome to the wonderful world of blogging!

  2. Free Range Pilates on September 3, 2013 at 8:16 am

    Reblogged this on FreeRangePilates and commented:
    Some very practical tips from my esteemed colleague Diana at Pennington Osteopathy.

Leave a Comment