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Back to School: Is your child’s school bag harming their posture?

Back to School: Is your child’s school bag harming their posture?


With September and the summer truly over, your child is fully back into the swing of school life for another year. As a parent, whether this is your first time sending your child off to school or if it is second nature to you, your child’s safety at school will always be a top concern.

One issue that most parents may not be aware of is the effect that a heavy school bag can have on your child’s posture and physical health. The combined weight of everything that children have to carry to and from school on a daily basis is causing growing concern especially among physiotherapists.

In recent years, children have been developing a range of back, neck and shoulder problems due to the weight of their bags. These bags are constantly filled with heavy books, laptops, sports equipment and packed lunches. If your child’s school doesn’t offer efficient storage resources such as lockers, your children will have to carry these bags around all day from classroom to classroom.

Studies suggest that children should not carry more than 10% of their body weight on their back, as anything over this will cause harm to their posture. The way in which your child carries their bag is another factor that will add to developing physical problems. If they carry their bag on one shoulder, the extra weight can place excessive force on the spine and muscles, overloading these structures. Over time, this can cause reduced shoulder, neck and thoracic spine range of motion, reduced muscle length, increased thoracic curvature and scoliosis.

If your child is complaining of any back, neck or shoulder pain, it is advised that they seek help from a chartered physiotherapist. Physiotherapy can offer your child a range of benefits through manual therapy, massage and in some cases, dry needling. A physiotherapist will also be able to prescribe your child appropriate mobility and strengthening exercises, to help relieve discomfort, and improve overall posture.

It is also advised that you ensure that your child has the correct school bag to effectively support their back. The ideal school bag should not be too large, have wide padded straps to help spread the load and a waist belt. By encouraging your child to leave books and stationary that they don’ t need on a daily basis at home will also help to lighten the load for your child.

Here at Ballsbridge Physiotherapy Clinic, our chartered physiotherapists are trained in effectively treating your child regarding any discomfort or postural changes they may be experiencing. If you wish to book an appointment or have any questions, you can contact us here.

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