Backpacks squashing children

Photo by Wikimedia Commons.
Photo by Wikimedia Commons.
School children are being crushed beneath the weight of their backpacks, chiropractors say.

The New Zealand Chiropractors Association (NZCA) has warned against the classic money-saving technique of buying new-entrants one bag to last through to university following a US study which showed how serious the damage to children can be.

"Two key spinal measurements change as the backpack load increases," NZCA spokesman Dr Simon Kelly said.

"Heavier weights cause compression of the intervertebral discs, which act as a cushion between the vertebrae (bones of the spine). In the lower spine, the disc height became smaller (reflecting greater disc compression) at heavier backpack weights. Heavier loads were also associated with increased curvature of the lower spine, either to the right or the left."

Bags should be no more than 10% of the child's weight, but a recent survey by the Chiropractors Association of Australia found almost half carried bags well over that mark.

Dr Kelly said parents needed to take responsibility for preserving their children's spines.

"Don't buy a small child a big bag hoping they'll grow into it. They will always try and fit as much in there as they can.

"Make sure they carry their backpacks on both shoulders to spread the load and always check that the bag you're buying meets their approval. If it's not cool, they won't wear it!"

Add a Comment

Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter