It is Isetan Private Sale (IPS) today - my favourite department sale that happens every few months. So i took time off from work to go. One of the first thing on my shopping list is an ergonomic school bag for RA since she is entering Pri 1 next year.
I must admit just 1 month ago, i was not even thinking of buying an ergo bag. Any bag will do right as long as it is a backpack and not a trolley bag. In fact, there is an extra Barbie bag bought during sale for less than $30.
But i was having a chit chat with a mummy friend n she was looking out for an ergo school bag. She said if the school bag is heavy n there is no good back support, the kid may end up with poor posture and hunching. Ok, it does make sense cos the gals' childcare bags are quite big but it is usually quite light since there is only 1 water bottle, bedding n a thin communication book.
But at Pri school, there are much more books and there is a lot of walking around as the campus is much bigger. Most primary schools will site Pri 1 classrooms at level 1, but even then the school hall, computer lab, music room, library etc are usually at level 2 or even level 3.
I have seen kids with big heavy bags slung so low going up n down the staircases n i worry they will topple n fall over. Some kids use trolley bags which are worse cos they got to lift n carry it up n down the stairs. Teachers do try to lighten p1 kids load by keeping workbooks or exercise books in school but at least 2-3 times a week, the workbooks will still be in the kids bags for homework or parents' signature.
Ok so which ergonomic bags are good? There are a quite few brands SPI, Impact, Deuter, Buddy, Ergo, Crosscom etc. A very hardworking parent has done a comparison chart of all the different ergonomic bags in the market. You will have to email him or her for the chart but if you zoom to 200%, you can still make out roughly what was written on the chart.
Personally, I only have contact with the first 3 brands since they are easily found in the heartlands or dept stores. In terms of pricing, Impact is cheapest ($79.90 onwards, available in Kiddy palace), followed by Deuter ($109 onwards) and then SPI ($139 onwards).
When I was teaching, I saw quite a few SPI bags so I bought SPI Smart Active bag since it is a well known brand PLUS it was on 30% off. I choose a pink bag with a cute design since there aren't any princess designs. Thought the plain ones are too common and I don't want her to confuse her bag with one of her classmate's.
The sales assistant said this bag can fit an A4 folder. That's good because at the primary school that I taught, part of the standard booklist is A4 clear holders. Students use 1 clear holder to keep important notices eg. spelling lists etc and they have a separate folder for Holistic assessment etc.
For a comfortable fit, the top of the backpack should sit just below a child’s shoulders; the base should not be lower than his hip. I let RA try out just now and it was still ok, the bag ended at her hip.
The American Chiropractic Association recommends that a fully loaded bag should be less than 10 per cent of a child’s weight. Hmm... RA is about 18kg meaning she should carry a school bag that is only 1.8kg. Think all the primary schools fail in this aspect cos there is just too many books for their lessons. Zzz...
Deuter will be my next choice, cos it is a German brand. I got a Deuter backpack myself. But the S size bag is too small in my opinion though it is light and compact. Impact is the cheapest ergo bag around so it is also popular but I do not like the plain designs and some of its models topple over easily. Hazardous as it blocks the walkways as kids are expected to put their school bag on the floor beside their chair.
Buying an ergonomic bag is expensive but it is still too early to say if this is the best bag for her. Got to really test it out next year. Fingers crossed that I made the right decision. Haha.