Quotes: MENA   Enter Symbol: NewsLetter: Search: advanced

Back-breaking burden?  Join our daily free Newsletter

MENAFN - Muscat Daily - 27/05/2014
No. of Ratings : 0
Add to Mixx!



(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) Every morning as Dana (name changed) watches her nine year old son Hamed take the bus to school, a slew of anxious thoughts cross her mind.

''I worry he may lose his balance while climbing onto the bus, and fall backwards,'' she said. Dana's fear is not unfounded.

The overloaded backpack that her son saddles on his back is enough to get any mother worried. Of late, Hamed has been complaining of severe backache, and while Dana is convinced that ''it has a lot to do with the heavy bag that he carries to school'', her son refuses to keep it light. Dana is not alone.

Many parents in the sultanate have been echoing similar concerns. When speaking to schoolchildren here, we found that on an average, a child carries a school diary, at least six notebooks, six textbooks of varying thickness, a pen-pencil case, extra stationery (ruler, colour pencils, geometry kit), lunchbox, water bottle “ and sometimes a cellphone hidden between the books “ all weighing nothing less than six to seven kilos.

Hakim-Hassan

Dr Hakim Hassan

''This is heavy,'' said Dr Hakim Hassan, senior osteopathy consultant (spine and joints), Finland Osteopathy Clinic, adding, ''The total weight of a school bag should not exceed 10 to 12 per cent of the child's body weight. This figure could vary depending on the child's body type and the platform he/she uses to walk.''

According to Dr Hakim, carrying heavy backpacks could damage the spine and posture of a child. ''When a child is young, his/her skeletons are still developing, the spine is no exception. Carrying a heavy bag increases the pressure on the shoulders and back, leading to instability of the spine. Due to this, a child ends up with muscle problems, like stiff neck and upper back pain. Sometimes, the joints of the spine may also grow unevenly, deforming the child's posture. You do not know how badly it could affect the child...say 20 to 30 years later,'' said Dr Hakim.

Also, children suffering with scoliosis “ a genetic disorder that causes abnormal curvature of the spine “ should be all the more careful, he said. ''When such children load their backs with unnecessary weight, they risk damaging their spine permanently.''

Who is to blame?

It's common to find students, parents as well as school authorities, pass the buck for overloaded school bags, onto each other. Though there is a fixed time-table in place at most schools, children argue that their teachers do not specify what books they need to carry to class.

''We have three textbooks for English, but our teachers rarely tell us which book would be required the next day, which is why I mostly carry all the books to school,'' a 14 year old student of an Indian school said. Parents also have a similar line of argument.

School authorities, however, claim otherwise. ''We have structured the time-table in such a way that we keep a double period of one subject twice or thrice a week so that children do not have to carry too many textbooks to schools,'' said Priya Murali, vice principal (primary section), Indian School Muscat, adding, ''Despite such measures, I find children carrying books not needed for the day inside their bags.''

Then, there is also the ban on trolley bags in many schools in the sultanate that has got some parents riled up. ''It would have eased the load off my sons' shoulders,'' said Shalini (name changed), whose children study in a private school.

''Parents do not realise that trolley bags are heavier than your regular bag. This is the only reason for the ban,'' said Priya. Dr Hakim doesn't agree more, ''Pulling a trolley bag requires one to tilt his/her shoulders. In doing so, the balance of the spine becomes less symmetrical. This could cause your spine to curve on one side.''

The way forward Last year, ISM initiated a pilot project in one section of classes three and four each. ''As part of the project, all textbooks were kept inside the class cupboard. The students though reluctant in the beginning, were very happy about not carrying their textbooks home. We will be trying it in two sections again this year. If the feedback from the parents and students is positive enough, we will implement it across all classes,'' says Priya.

In a similar move, Al Injaz Private School started a locker system for its students. ''Each student has a personal locker. At the start of the academic year, we get our teachers to train the students to use these lockers, and the students are instructed to deposit all their extra stationery, craft material and textbooks here,'' Amita Sharma, director of the school said. A parent whose children study at the British School Muscat lauded the school for introducing tablets and sees it as ''a step forward in academic learning''.

''My children do all their homework online. It has reduced the number of books they carry home,'' he said. Among the Indian schools, ISM also ''plans to introduce tablets soon...but in a phased manner''.

However, until such measures are implemented, teachers and doctors feel that parents and students should try and work around the existing system, to deal with the problem. Amita and Priya say that if students follow the instruction of the teachers and pack their bags according to the time-table, their bags wouldn't be this heavy. Dr Hakim suggests involving the children in sports and physical activity to correct any damage to their spine. He also believes that investing in a good backpack ''could prevent a whole lot of injuries''.

''If you really care for your child's well-being, you shouldn't mind shelling a few extra bucks on the right bag.''

Buying the right school bag

Bag

Small and compact: Avoid bags that are bigger (lengthwise) than the height of the child's back. When a child carries a huge bag, he/she inadvertently ends up bending forward. This could compress the spine, leading to tightening of the muscles, thereby causing severe backache.

Cushioned for comfort: Thick, cushy straps help lesson the impact of the weight of the bag on the child's shoulders. Ensure that straps are not too wide as shoulder blades need breathing space. Look for bags that can also be strapped at the waist like a belt; the front belt helps lock the bag to the hip, and keeps the spine erect.

Fit to form: Opt for a schoolbag, which has a nice contour. A perfectly shaped bag is one that takes on the shape of the spine when it rests on the back. Ensure that there is some space between the bag and body just near the lower back. This prevents any discomfort caused due to the polyester material of the b


 


Muscat Daily




  MENA News Headlines
 Jan 27 2015 - Saudi- Dawn of a new era under King SalmanArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) A new era dawned in Saudi Arabia on Monday under the leadership of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman as citizens across the country expressed their confidence in the ...

 Jan 27 2015 - Saudi- Salman Obama set for strategic talksArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman will hold talks in Riyadh on Tuesday with US President Barack Obama on major regional and international issues a Royal Court ...

 Jan 27 2015 - SAGIA: Smooth transition highlights KSA's stabilityArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) Saudi Arabia is committed to creating a world-class environment for investors said Abdullatif A. Al-Othman governor of the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority.'The smooth ...

 Jan 27 2015 - Israeli Navy Sinks Palestinian Fishing Boat in Gaza, Kidnaps 4 FishermenQatar News Agency
(MENAFN - QNA) A Palestinian fishing boat drowned after Israeli navy ships fired rounds of live ammunition at it in Palestinian waters, west of Gaza city. The soldiers also kidnapped four ...

 Jan 27 2015 - Iraqs Shiite militias killed 70 civilians after IS rollback: Sunni leadersArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) BAGHDAD: Sunni politicians and tribal chiefs from Iraq's eastern Diyala province accused Shiite militias on Monday of killing more than 70 unarmed civilians who had fled clashes ...

 Jan 27 2015 - Saudi- Infrastructure investment to continueArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) Heavy spending on infrastructure education training and job creation initiatives would continue under Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman an expert said here.Mazen ...

 Jan 27 2015 - Saudi- Courts have SR6bn backlog of finance casesArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) The Ministry of Justice has called on judges to deal with lawsuits involving commercial papers and other financial instruments even if these documents do not have the prescribed ...

 Jan 27 2015 - Saudi- SCTA suspends ongoing tourism festivalsArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) The Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA) has decided to suspend the ongoing and planned tourism festivals in the Kingdom to mark the death of King Abdullah who ...

 Jan 27 2015 - Stray bullet hits boy 5 in RiyadhArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) A five-year-old boy is in intensive care at a hospital in Riyadh after being struck by a stray bullet which is now lodged in his skull.Sultan bin Berm bin Abdul Aziz is being ...

 Jan 27 2015 - Saudi- Crown Prince Muqrin 'saved my daughter'Arab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) A 60-year-old Madinah woman says Crown Prince Muqrin saved the life of her daughter when he was governor of the city.Umm Mohammed a resident of Al-Ais province in Madinah said ...

more...


 






Google

 
 

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network

MENAFN News Market Data Countries Tools Section  
 

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network
Arabic MENAFN

Main News
News By Industry
News By Country

Islamic Finance News
Private Equity News

How-To Guides
Technology Section

Travel Section

Search News

Market Indices
Quotes & Charts

Global Indices
Arab Indices

Commodoties

Oil & Energy

Currencies Cross Rates
Currencies Updates
Currency Converter

USA Stocks
Arab Stocks
 

Algeria 
Bahrain 
Egypt 
Iraq
Jordan 
Kuwait 
Lebanon
Morocco 
Oman 
Palestine
Qatar 
Saudi Arabia 
Syria
Tunisia 
UAE 
Yemen

Weather
Economic Calendar
Financial Glossary


Financial Calculators

RSS Feeds [XML]

Corporate Monitor

Events

Real Estate
Submit Your Property

Arab Research
Buy a Research

Press Releases
Submit your PR

Join Newsletters


 
© 2014 menafn.com All Rights Reserved.  Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Advertise | About MENAFN | Career Opportunities | Feedback | Help