Carrying a heavy school bag every day can cause spinal problems among children and worsen scoliosis, medical experts said, as they recommend limiting such bags to no more than 10% of a kid’s weight.
The warning came after one netizen raised concern about the weight of the bag that their Prathom 2 child had to carry daily, which is said to have totalled 4.5 kilogrammes.
According to the Department of Medical Services, Thai students have to carry bags weighing at least 4-6kg to school every day, considerably higher than the suggested limit that bags should only weigh 10–20% of their body weight.
Dr Nutthapong Wongwiwat, deputy director-general of the Department of Medical Services, said overly heavy bags can threaten the development of children’s spines, thus impeding their growth.
He said heavy carry-on bags can unbalance their spines since they have to tilt over to the heavier side, causing muscles to also be overworked.
Dr Adisak Ngamkajornvivat, director of Lerdsin Hospital, said overweight bags can lead to back problems and poor posture.
Regarding the spinal issues, Dr Adisak suggested parents send their child to see a doctor if they notice poor postural problems.
Parents can check their children by making them bend backwards with their feet close together, he said. They should be sent to the doctor if anything looks out of place.
To prevent such back problems, Dr Adisak suggested parents give their offspring wheeled bags to use or limit the weight to within the safe range.
Dr Tinnakorn Pleumvitayaporn from Lerdsin’s Orthopaedics Institute said that even though heavy bags are not considered a direct cause of scoliosis in kids, they can affect their tendons and muscle, which could worsen the disease.
Dr Tinnakorn said a physician can prescribe patients suffering from scoliosis with various advice and treatments to deal with the ailment.