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Preparing for School

In anticipation of the new school year, Ayelet Keller, Director of Physical Therapy Services at Schneider Children’s advises how parents should choose schoolbags and shoes for each child according to his age and weight
Date: 28.08.17 | Update: 28.08.17


The correct choice of backpack and its suitability to the child's size is very important for the health of the back, shoulders and neck. Attention must be paid to the following when choosing the schoolbag:

  • Backpacks should have wide and adjustable padded shoulder straps; padding in the area of the back; and several compartments to allow for weight distribution of textbooks and stationary

  • When fitting the backpack on the child, ensure that the length of both shoulder straps are the same so that there is balanced distribution of the weight load and that most of the schoolbag’s weight is centered in the small of the back and not at the lower back

  • To reduce the weight of the schoolbag, only items required for that day should be packed in, while ensuring that its weight when full, does not exceed 15% of the child’s weight

  • The child should report any back or shoulder pain to his parents

  • Wheels for schoolbags should consider the conditions of sidewalks en route to school and back. A schoolbag on wheels, although heavier and not worn on the child’s back, is unsuitable for climbing stairs, and requires a greater effort to lift, which leads to asymmetrical movement of the back and hands. Therefore it should be pulled alternatively with one hand and then the other

  • Reflectors should be attached to the schoolbag for road safety

Choosing shoes and sandals for children is an important task. Attention should be paid to the structure and type of shoe, which should be wide and rounded at the tip and fit snugly on the heel so that the foot does not come out of the shoe during walking. It should be made of flexible and aerated material: shoes made of rigid materials interfere with the child’s foot movement. Slip-slops of any kind are not recommended.

When choosing shoes, it is important to match the shape of the shoe to the structure of the foot (wide/narrow). The correct size is determined after measuring the right shoe and the left shoe when the child is standing (feet are not usually the same length). Socks must match the size of the foot: socks that are too small confine essential movement of the feet; socks that are too big create folds and are a source of pressure and discomfort. It is important to tie and double-knot shoelaces, so that they won’t come undone or put pressure on the foot. Shoes should be measured at the end of the day’s activities, because of the foot’s inclination to swell at the end of the day.

 

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