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Choosing Schoolbags and Shoes Properly

Parents start preparing their children already for the new school year during the long summer vacation. Physiotherapist Nili Arbel of Schneider Children’s Medical Center, advises how to make the proper choice of schoolbags and shoes for each child according to his age and weight.
Date: 12.07.15 | Update: 31.08.15

Choosing the right backpack for the child's size is very important in order to maintain a healthy back. Backpacks should have wide and adjustable padded shoulder straps; extra padding in the area of the back; and several compartments to allow for balanced weight distribution. Shoulder straps must be the same length while most of the schoolbag’s weight should be located in the small of the back and not at the lower back. Reflectors should be attached for road safety, and the child told to report any back or shoulder pain.

Only items required for that day of school should be packed in, while ensuring that its weight, when full, does not exceed 15% of the child’s weight. Wheels for schoolbags should take into account the conditions of sidewalks to and from school. They are also unsuitable for climbing stairs, which requires a greater effort to lift. Since wheels encourage asymmetrical movement of the back and hands, the child should alternate both hands.

When selecting shoes, attention should be paid to its structure and shape, which should be wide and rounded at the tip and fit snugly around the heel. Shoes should be made of flexible and aerated material since rigid materials interfere with movement.

Correct size is determined by measuring the right shoe and then left shoe when the child is standing (the length of the feet are usually not the same). Sock size is important also: if too small, they confine essential movement, and if too big, folds cause pressure and discomfort. Shoelaces must be properly tied, so that they will not come undone or press on the foot. Parent should measure the child’s shoes because of the foot’s inclination to swell during the day.

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