Just how heavy is your child’s school bag?

I often ask parents how heavy their children’s school bag is and the reply almost every time is ‘far too heavy’. A great new research paper has just come out titled “The weight of pupils’ schoolbags in early school age and its influence on body posture”. I will summarise points below and there is also a link to the paper (full text is available) at the bottom of this post.


The study looked at 168 children aged 7-9 over a period of 1 year and looked at school bag weight, length of straps and certain body posture measurements.

  • School bag weight ranged between 4.7-9.0kg, with an average weight of 6.3kg. The recommended weight for school bags for students aged between 7-9 should be between 3.1-5.9kg
  • More than 90% of the students improperly put on and took off their school bags. This involved a bending motion accompanied by rotation and a rapid straightening of the lumbar spine
  • 79.3% had the two shoulder straps adjusted at different lengths
  • School bags were most often placed too high, which forced children to lean forward and hence overload the spine


Some general tips for carrying backpacks:

  • Backpacks should ideally be no heavier than 10% of the students body weight
  • Use both shoulder straps, both of even length. Do not carry it over one shoulder
  • Use the waist straps
  • Heavy items should be placed at the bottom of the bag and close to the spine
  • Lift a backpack through squatting, backpack held close to the body

If you have any concerns about the effects of your child’s backpack on their spinal health, bring them in to see one of the chiropractors here at Mona Vale Chiropractic Centre.


The weight of pupils’ schoolbags in early school age and its influence on body posture. Brzek et al. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders (2017) 18:117



Mitchell Roberts – Chiropractor