Pack donkey schoolchild? The burden with the satchel

If you want to be cool, you have to suffer, especially if the satchel is too heavy or wrong. Three quarters of all elementary school students have more difficulty carrying their school supplies than would be advisable for their age and weight. Find out what parents and students should look for here.

Pay attention to warning signs of the body

"An unsuitable schoolbag can overload the child's spine, " explains the orthopedist. Claus Carstens from the University Hospital in Heidelberg. "This can lead to muscle tension and pain." Adults often ignore the warning signs of their bodies. Children, on the other hand, react instinctively when they feel unwell or in pain: they just do not want to.

Bad loading of the child's spine should not be taken lightly

The school items are packed correctly in a satchel that complies with DIN 58124 and on which the GS mark for tested safety must not be missing. Well set, the satchel closes at the top with the shoulder line and lies close to the back. Under no circumstances may the satchel be supported with the lower edge on the sacrum. The straps should be at least four inches wide and well padded and easily adjustable in length. In this way, the weight is distributed evenly.

Parents should ensure that the child's freedom of movement is not restricted by the knapsack during a pre-purchase sample. A poorly fitting satchel increases the risk of accidents significantly. Also the correct wearing of the backpack is an important point. To hang the knapsack over one shoulder looks cool, but it also strains the child's skeleton as well as an inappropriate shoulder bag. The child compensates for the unilateral load by falling into a hollow back (lordosis) and bends lengthwise (scoliosis). Muscle tension and postural problems are the result.

According to the Institute of Sports Orthopedics at the German Sport University in Cologne, half of all schoolchildren already have poor posture and injuries. But this is not just the wrong burden. "Our children do not move enough, " explains Dr. Carstens. "Compensatory sports are immensely important, especially if the kids prefer to spend their free time in front of the TV or computer." Whether gymnastics, dancing or football, it should be fun and strengthen the abdominal and back muscles. Most sports also train the sense of balance, which is strongly demanded at the beginning of school and the carrying of the satchel.

Important: A daily satchel check!

Parents should make sure that their child only carries what they really need to school. For many years, health insurance companies and pediatric associations have regularly been carrying out so-called weight-bearing reactions in schools, which check the weight of the school bags. Always with the same result: The weight of most satchels is too high. High school students in the eleventh grade carry up to twelve kilograms with them, a pupil in the final year of secondary school still eight kilograms. "Most children are too heavy", confirms Dr. med. Kirsten Reinhard.

A packed satchel should not weigh more than 10 to 12.5 percent of the child's own body weight. For a first-grader who weighs 20 kilograms, that means no more than two to a maximum of two and a half kilograms. The daily satchel check is therefore essential.

Children should learn to pack their own satchel early on. Simply stuffing everything that is needed during the week is extremely convenient for some small lazybones. But this is exactly where the parents should intervene and explain to their child why it is important to have a light knapsack as important to their health.

Many books are not needed every day, heavy atlases should best be placed in the classroom after consultation with the faculty. Electronic toys such as MP3 players and Gameboy cause additional weight and have nothing to do in a satchel.

Pollutants in the satchel

For elementary school children, plastic wreaths that weigh no more than 1200 grams are suitable. Leather satchels, on the other hand, not only have too much weight. Also in terms of waterproofness, most leather models leave much to be desired. In addition, three years ago the magazine Ökotest found residues of the toxic chemical PCP (pentachlorophenol) in leather in all tested leather sacs. But the plastic wreaths were not pollutant-free in many parts.

Satchel checklist:

  • Choose bright, vivid colors; Pay attention to the GS mark and the DIN 58124, it guarantees a sufficient number of reflectors and thus a better protection of the child on the road.
  • The packed schoolbag should not exceed 10 percent of body weight. Pack for the next day in the evening, omit unnecessary ballast.
  • If possible, deposit heavy books and notebooks at school.
  • The filled satchel should rest on the back, the back part must be well padded and ideally shaped to be body-shaped. When properly seated, the satchel closes at the top with the shoulder line and does not slip when walking.
  • Dear "uncool" as ill: Explain to your child why proper wearing of the satchel is important.
  • Backpacks and shoulder bags are unsuitable as school bags especially at primary school age. Again, health is about fashion awareness.
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