Sunday, January 17, 2010

Views on children's school bag

Heavy school bags are the cause of injury to the backbone and spine of school children, says an Orthopaedic surgeon. Bags with wheels can resolve the issue of heavy bags, says a teacher. The author has come out with other practical solutions.

Carrying heavy school bags poses a health risk to children at an early age like neck pain, deformity, muscle spasms, shoulder pain, backache, back injuries and sometimes even fractures of the spine.
A noted orthopedician in the city says: "Children who do not carry school bags in the proper way are at risk of hurting their back bone. Some children carry the heavy bag on one side of their shoulder resulting in intense pressure on that shoulder. They should instead carry it on the back, using both the straps, which puts equal pressure on their spine. Parents should insist their children to carry the bags strapped on both the shoulders and ensure that the weight does not exceed more than 15 per cent of the child’s body weight."
"Sometimes, children try balancing the weight by arching their backs or leaning forward, which may result in a poor posture as they grow. Compared to handbags and briefcases, backpacks are supposedly safer for kids because they distribute weight evenly across the body and are supported by the back and abdominal muscles," said the doctor.
The doctor added that children should also be taught in the classroom to sit comfortably in an upright position in a proper chair that supports the contours of the spine thereby reducing the back pain and neck pain.
Exercising regularly also helps to support the spine and strengthens the muscles in the stomach, back, neck and shoulders. Children should carry only those books which are required for the day and not all the books that they study.
One of the parents suggested that locker facilities should be provided in every school so that children can keep their books in lockers instead of bringing them back home everyday.
Another parent said, "Every day children carry the text books and a working book for a given subject and sometimes two. As everyday they will be having five to six different subjects, this makes them carry more number of books every day. In addition to this, they have to carry a PE kit, dictionary, pencil case, lunch box, water bottles, library books, geometrical and mathematical instruments, etc. Thus heavy school bags result in pain and discomfort to kids."
"Schools insist children carry all the notebooks, question banks, text books and other things which are not required all the time. Teachers should clea-rly mention the books required for the particular day so that the children need not carry all the books. Further if locker facility is provided, then children will not be scolded by the teachers for not bringing the books," the parents suggested.
Some parents say that now-a-days most of the children go to school in auto, school bus, van etc., so the chances of back pain are less.
"If we carry the books according to time table also the bags are still heavy. According to me, the solution is that we should be made to understand the lessons in schools instead of mugging up the answers, so that we don’t need to carry all the books back home. The extent of home work should be reduced so that we can carry only the home work books back and keep the remaining books in schools," says a 9th standard student.
Students also state, "In higher classes, the burden of books also increases. We find it difficult to carry the school bag on our back. Some of us travel by public bus. It is difficult to run with the heavy bags. If we go late to the school, punishments like running in the school campus with bag will be given which makes us more tired."
"Parents should regularly check the bags and empty them. Try to get bags with wheels so that the children can handle the heavy bag easily," says a teacher.
[Wednesday 22nd October 2008]

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