Buying an Ergonomic School Bag?

Last Sunday’s article on the Straits Times about heavy School bags was of great interest to me! I used to remember the heavy school bags that I carried to school when I was young. I was terribly afraid of forgetting to bring a textbook to school, and therefore packing my bag, means putting in the “whole kitchen sink”. Yes! I brought everything.

Things have changed a lot since the 1980s. Today, Schools provide lockers or kids are allocated space to keep their books in school. No longer, do they have to face the burden of heavy school bags. I was thus very amused when I brought my Primary 1 Son to school, and I realized that practically 3/4 of the school was carrying ERGONOMIC Bags. Everywhere I looked, there was the same old familiar brands that kept on coming up!

However, the thing about these ERGONOMIC bags is that first of all, they are NOT CHEAP at all. Their prices range from $70 onwards, and it seems that the word “ERGONOMIC” always seems to mean that “You must be prepared to pay!”

2ndly, the word ERGONOMIC also means that they seem to have this additional weight that you kids have to carry around. , to make themselves good for your back. I was beginning to tell myself, maybe this additional weight is worth it, as we need to protect the fragile spines of our kids. On the other hand, I am starting to think differently…

The Sunday Times article reported that…

“Some Parents Sundaylife spoke to are convinced that heavy bags their children lug around lead to backaches or, worse, scoliosis or a curved spine. But doctors say there is no evidence linking heavy bags to scoliosis. Dr Kevin Lim, Senior consultant of the department of orthopaedic surgery of KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, says there is no study on the long-term effects of children carrying heavy school bags….Almost always, the pain is not ascribed to a heavy school bag –  a recent injury or overuse from sports or training is more usual. ”

Sunday Plus January 12, 2014.

Nevertheless, a Senior physiotherapist from NUH says that when kids reach a growth spurt when they are 11 to 14 years old, kids may get backaches when faced with a heavy load.  Muscles and bones must be able to cope with the physical changes during this period, and backaches may result due to an additional load.

However, the burden here seems to be when a child faces a growth spurt!

So is buying an ERGONOMIC Schoolbag important when the kids reach Primary 1?

Parents need to decide for themselves. Firstly, the Ergonomic School bag is definitely more pricey than a normal school bag. They range from $70 onwards. I definitely agree that Padding is important, as even the bags I carry have padding. So personally for me, a backpack without padding is a No-NO. But these Ergonomic bags are firstly heavy, and NOT exactly 5 Star in terms of quality.

What type of School Bag?

Personally for us, I decided to buy a brand that has a bit of of Backpack history. I used them when I was young, and I think they are good enough for my kids as well. I did not opt for the ERGONOMIC line, as I found it chunky, heavy and expensive. To put it in a different perspective, I will pay for the Air Bags in my car, as I know that they work, and they also do not affect the performance of my car. Therefore, there must be conclusive study in this area first, before I opt to pay for an Ergonomic system.

At the end of the day, regardless of whatever bag you choose, you still need to teach the kids to pack their school bags effectively, and also how they can leave some books behind in their lockers.

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