A-level students and secondary school pupils are carrying school bags weighing as much as 7.5kg (16.5lb) to school each day. The average weight carried is just over 6kg – the equivalent of three standard house bricks – according to a new survey.
The survey was conducted by i-stay amongst teenagers aged 16 -18 attending secondary schools and colleges at sample schools in England. They were asked to weigh their bags using bathroom scales in the morning before leaving for school.
With the new term dates looming, they make for concerning reading for parents.
According to the survey, the average weight of books taken to school was 6.03kgs. The subjects with the academics subjects with heaviest books include Maths, History and Physics with an average of 4.6 books per subject, per term. The survey also found that Year 12 was the group with the heaviest bags and the most books. This is attributed to the fact that many students take four AS-levels before dropping to three subjects in Year 13.
“Parents might be surprised at just how heavy a teenager’s school bag can be,” comments Anneka Chauhan from i-stay. “To make things worse, many schools no longer provide lockers so that the student has to carry their heavy school bag around with them all day.
“At this age the spine is still developing, so too much weight can cause problems long term for the student,” comments chiropractor Tracy Dixon-Maynard from health assessment company Positura. She adds “The key is to carry less whenever possible and to spread the weight over a wide area – by using a rucksack carried on both shoulders for example. Putting pressure only on one side only can do long term damage to young spines including scoliosis.”
You can see the i-stay range of bags here.
To help combat the problem i-stay have developed a range of rucksacks with protective cushioning and special straps which spread the weight of the books contained in the bag over a wider areas. This reduces the impact on the shoulder and the spine. The bags have been commended by the Royal College of Chiropractors for their sound ergonomic design and for the health benefits likely to be gained from using the products.
Parents looking for advice on how to select a school bag are offered this advice from the British Chiropractic Association:
- Spend some time looking for a school bag that will help minimise the pressure on your child’s back when they’re carrying it.
- Look out for bags which can be carried on both shoulders, with adjustable straps which will hold the contents close to their back and distribute weight evenly.
- If your child insists on carrying a bag with one strap, encourage them to alternate which shoulder they carry it on and to carry it across their body.
“Whilst the books might be developing their minds, they are hampering their backs. Our i-stay products help to keep their spine safe without harming their education,” says Anneka. The range includes rucksacks, briefcases, and tablet cases as well as stand-alone straps that can be used with any type of bag.
If you are concerned about the weight of books that your child takes to school, why not treat them to an item from the i-stay range for the start of term?