Carrying a school bag in general is a huge risk factor for developing scoliosis. The school bags are usually big and too heavy and children tend to lean forward to try to compensate for the weight they're feeling behind. The body gets into an unnatural position, a forward head posture and rounded shoulders occur, and the weight is mostly on the front part of the feet. Because of the size of the bag the arms can’t swing in their natural way and it causes developing imbalances in the body. All these are risk factors for developing a poor body posture, scoliosis or worsening a scoliotic curve. Let’s not forget that sitting at the school desk for many hours every day and imbalance in the body caused by writing with one hand also have an impact on the body and all these factors can cause muscular imbalances, poor body posture, back pain, headache or fatigue.
The ideal solution would be not to carry any school bag at all and replace all the books with online materials. Unfortunately this scenario is not realistic, so not only the prevention is very important, but so is the compensation for the muscular imbalances. Unfortunately when the child starts the day by going to school carrying a heavy school bag, then sits at the school desk for many hours, goes home and spends the rest of the day by watching TV or sitting by the computer, there is a lack of movement. This lack of movement should be compensated by some healthy movement such as going for a walk, doing some kind of sport activities and we should try to eliminate the bad habits (as excessive load bearing). Luckily these days we can find quality school bags that are appropriate to your child’s size and safe for their immature spine.
When looking for a school bag, above all it should be light. Let’s not forget the pull of gravity that influences the child, and add to that the weight of the bag, books, shoes, snacks and other school supplies. Therefore, the ideal bag should be light with a reinforced and padded back piece. Then there should be a waist strap, chest strap and contoured shoulder straps that go around the trapezius muscles. These components help to distribute correctly the weight across the body and maintain the bag in the right position.
It is also important to teach children that the bag should be worn correctly, they should use both straps and place the heaviest objects in the back compartment so the center of mass is close to the trunk.
"I had the opportunity to try Bagmaster bags with my own children and I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. Not just by the design itself but how the weight is distributed when the bag is full. The waist strap helps a lot, because when there is none, the weight of the bag makes your child lean forward and causes upper back pain and strain the shoulders. The bags without a waist strap are not good for children. Nevertheless not every bag that has a waist strap is a good one and can be considered safe for the child’s health. The waist strap might shift the weight from back to pelvis, but it is not enough. That’s why the chest strap is also very important because it keeps the shoulder straps together and helps the children’s back to remain straight. Besides that, the straps fit into the right place on the shoulder and it doesn’t irritate the trapezius muscles – and this is the correct way how the bag should be worn.
It is also very important to remember that the weight of the bag should be distributed around the whole child‘s trunk. Placing the straps right and using the waist and chest strap is very important and at the same time the heavy items should be placed first into the back compartment so that they are closest to the spine. That’s why I like the Bagmaster bags so much because they have a special compartment for heavy books and it also has an ergonomic layered back and the bags are light. Comparing to other school bags with padded back piece the Bagmaster bags are definitely the lightest. I really recommend them!"