I have discussed the topic of the weight of school bags in newsletters previously. I believe it is always relevant to revisit this information. 


According to the Chiropractors’ Association of Australia, we should follow this ‘rule of thumb’ regarding the weight of school bags. The maximum weight of a fully packed bag should be equivalent to 10% of the student’s total body weight. i.e. if a child weighs 55kg the maximum weight of their packed bag should be 5.5kg - no heavier! This includes the weight of the bag and not just the contents. It is important to note that if a child is bending at the waist to carry their bag, it is too heavy. 


Slinging a backpack on with only one strap can lead to muscle imbalances and pain in the neck and shoulders, especially if the pack is heavy. The backpack should be worn with straps tight on both shoulders so that the bag stays close to the body. The bag should not hang more than 4cm below the waistline and the waist/hip strap should be used to reduce strain on the back.


When packing the backpack, place the heaviest items closest to the body and make sure anything pointy or awkwardly shaped isn’t digging into the back.

90 per cent of school children have bad posture when carrying their bags and could experience spinal damage as a result.


Many of our students choose to carry too much home daily.  As well as their Chromebooks they often carry unnecessary items such as a textbook when it has an e-link that they could access at home.  


Here are a few basic tips that can help lighten the load. 

  • Use a soft lunchbox as it is much lighter. 
  • Carry empty water bottles and fill them on arrival at school.
  • Pack heavier items, such as Chromebook closer to the body or on the bottom of the bag.
  • Empty out the bag on a weekly basis to ensure that unnecessary items are not being carried.
  • Use a diary correctly so that you can plan in advance to take only the required resources to and from school.
  • If the textbook has an ‘e-link’ use this version at home.
Susan Wilken
Susan Wilken

Susan Wilken 

Community Health