According to the World Health Organization, a school backpack should not weigh more than 10% of a child's weight.
In February 2017, 48000 Portuguese signed a public petition “against the excessive weight of school backpacks in Portugal”. According to Deco, who carried out a study at that time weighing 174 children and their backpacks, arrived to the conclusion that “66% of the kids in the sample carried more weight on their backs than recommended!”.
“parents must play a proactive and unequivocal role in monitoring this situation, weighing the children's backpack and alerting the teachers or the school” explained the campaign coordinator “Watch behind your back ” in an interview to the Life section of DN. “Exaggerated weight in backpacks is linked to muscle contractures, poor posture and excess load on the spinal discs”, comments the same article from DN.
“The repeated transport of a heavy backpack can cause, in the future, severe problems for the backs of children. In addition to the back pain that children probably complain about on a daily basis, this habit can cause increased wear and tear on the child's spine over time, severely harming your long-term health" explained neurosurgeon Paulo Pereira to Sapo Lifestyle.
Often these spine problems get camouflaged as children and teenagers often are not clear about their back pain and problems. But we must be aware of the signs: if children complain when they put on or take off their backpacks, there is shoulder marks or complain that your shoulders, arms or hands feel numb, there is to take immediate action.
The illustration of HuffPost, portrays these problems quite well:
Who first has to monitor and manage the type of backpacks and the weight that the children carry inside are the parents themselves.
The Light Backpack campaign, from the General Directorate of Education, recommends that parents follow the following recommendations:
Purchase ergonomically suitable backpacks.
Purchase lightweight materials (cases, notebooks and other auxiliary materials).
Opt for notebooks or dossiers that allow the use of a single notebook or separators.
Opt for backpacks with wheels (trolley type).
- If the option is shoulder bag:
- Use the backpack carried at the height of the back (mid-back);
- Wear the backpack with the two straps always in place;
- Wear the backpack as little as possible on the back;
- Properly distribute the school material inside the backpack, placing the heaviest one on the back.
- Check that only useful and necessary school supplies and equipment (electronics, computers, toys, etc.) are transported.
Check if material that is no longer usable is taken from the backpack
Use light and sustainable materials, whenever students take snacks to school.
Promote awareness actions in Parents' Associations.
In short, parents first have to ensure that the backpack that their children use is placed correctly, which they carry strictly what is necessary and that the posture of your children is the proper one.
But some care will compete also for the school and the teachers, such as the campaign Light Backpack recommends them:
Encourage the use of lockers, in a shared or individual way, depending on capacity, allowing the heaviest materials to stay in the school.
Preferably distribute the same room to each class, so that materials can be left in the room during breaks.
Ensure, whenever possible, that the manuals remain in the school.
Plan lessons anticipating whether textbooks will be used, to prevent students from transporting them to school when they are not needed.
Warn students about which volumes and manuals are needed for the next class, allowing them to take only the necessary material.
Select activities to be carried out at home, when necessary, considering the material that needs to be transported.
Plan ways to use notebooks or dossiers that allow using a single notebook or separators.
Promote the shared use of textbooks, on a rotating basis, alternating the day when different students bring the textbooks to class.
Promote awareness actions in each school, involving the entire school community.
In addition to these solutions, it also contributes to the digital transformation of school textbooks and the teaching process in general. The existence of digital school manuals, the use of internet, for study and research, and word processors and spreadsheets for the preparation of works and presentations, it allows new resources to the students whenever they are used in a balanced way.
But this digital transformation also requires new care: students often need to take their computers with them to school or university, carrying even more weight in the backpack.
Acquiring a computer lightweight but resistant enough to be transported on a daily basis and with the necessary performance to the student's tasks clearly poses a challenge to parents.
The solution for refurbished computers for students (link to article: why a refurbished computer is ideal for students) allows, the
t2>low cost, a quality and professional robustness, that would only be available at exorbitant prices, incompatible with the family budgets of most students and, above all, constituting a great risk since the loss or theft of this equipment is a constant concern for parents
Buying a refurbished computer, in addition to having a huge impact on the environment , means for the student to have access to a lightweight machine, much more powerful and robust than the non-professional machine, in practically new condition, but at a much lower price.
After all, are the students or are they not also professionals?.