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What is School Bag Syndrome and Why is Marham Talking About It?

Remember the time when we used to carry our heavy bags to school? Some cool kids would always carry their bags on one shoulder. But doing that or lifting the bag improperly can lead to complications. For one, they can put a strain on the soft tissues of your back. Repeating these activities every day can damage the spine and cause permanent structural deformities.

On September 18, 2017, Marham, an educational and health forum, hosted a live online event at their headquarters to raise awareness about school bag syndrome. Marham’s team was joined by Dr. Farrukh Ali, a consultant neurologist in USA and Pakistan, to share insights on this otherwise neglected issue.

What is the School Bag Syndrome?

School bag syndrome is the physical and emotional impacts that kids experience due to the weight of their school bags. It can severely affect the health of growing children which is why this event was held to educate the masses about it. If your child is experiencing any of the following, then he/she is suffering from the school bag syndrome:

  • Headache
  • Pressure behind eyes
  • Pressure overhead
  • Concentration and memory problems
  • Irritability
  • Neck pain
  • Dizziness
  • Shoulder pain
  • Arm numbness
  • Changes in handwriting and dexterity
  • Leg stiffness
  • Loss of energy

What’s the Solution?

It’s imperative to resolve this issue because our children’s health and future are at stake. Parents, school administration, and children themselves can take part in fixing this issue. By taking the following measures we can move toward a safer future of our children:

  • Weights of the backpacks should be reduced to 10-15% of total body weight of the child.
  • Children should only use the bags with two straps.
  • The shoulder straps should be wide and soft.
  • Children should be taught correct lifting technique which is bending at the knees and then lifting.
  • Parents should provide an active lifestyle for their children and make sure they eat healthily and exercise regularly. This way their back will remain strong and flexible.
  • If a child has any nutritional deficiencies, a nutritionist should be consulted who can prescribe the necessary nutritional supplements.
  • Parents should be aware of the correct packing techniques of the school bag.
  • A bag with multiple pockets should be preferred.
  • Heavier books should always be placed in the pocket closest to the back and the lighter ones in the front. That way the weight gets divided effectively.
  • Only required books and stationery should be packed in the bag.
  • Children should carry the bag in a way that it stays 2-3 inches above the waist.

The 50 Rupees per Year Project:

One way to overcome this problem is schools installing storage spaces for books. The estimated cost of such a project will be an annual sum of mere 50 rupees per child. That way schools can install cupboards for each class and reduce the load children have to carry every day.

Help Marham

School bag syndrome is affecting our children’s physical and psychological health but at the same time, the masses stay ignorant about it. Therefore, spreading awareness about it is very important. All of us should come forward and help Marham in raising awareness about the school bag syndrome.

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