ORIGINAL PAPER
Do the requirements included in the regulation on health and safety at school effectively prevent children from carrying too heavy schoolbags?
 
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1
Śląski Uniwersytet Medyczny w Katowicach / Medical University of Silesia, Bytom, Poland (Wydział Nauk o Zdrowiu w Bytomiu, Zakład Toksykologii i Ochrony Zdrowia w Środowisku Pracy / Faculty of Health Sciences in Bytom, Department of Toxicology and Health Protection)
2
Śląski Uniwersytet Medyczny w Katowicach / Medical University of Silesia, Bytom, Poland (Koło Naukowe przy Zakładzie Toksykologii i Ochrony Zdrowia w Środowisku Pracy / Scientific Circle at Department of Toxicology and Health Protection)
CORRESPONDING AUTHOR
Jolanta Malinowska-Borowska   

Śląski Uniwersytet Medyczny w Katowicach, Wydział Nauk o Zdrowiu w Bytomiu, Zakład Toksykologii i Ochrony Zdrowia w Środowisku Pracy, ul. Piekarska 18, 41-902 Bytom
Online publication date: 2020-10-12
 
Med Pr 2020;71(6):687–697
 
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ABSTRACT
Background: Excessive spinal load caused by a schoolbag has a major impact on the child’s body posture. The National Sanitary Inspector recommends the limit of schoolbag weight as corresponding to 10–15% of the student’s weight. The aim of the study was to assess the spinal load of children aged 6–9 years, caused by schoolbags, and to check if it meets the requirements expressed as a percentage of the child’s weight. The weight of the items in schoolbags was also established. In addition, parents’ awareness about schoolbags and the child’s use of additional storage spaces (lockers) were analyzed. Material and Methods: Overall, 332 children aged 6–9 years (172 girls, 160 boys) attending selected schools in a city located in the Silesian Voivodeship participated in the study. The study included determining schoolbag weight and presenting it in relation to the child’s weight. The Mann-Whitney U test was used for 2 independent variables with non-normally distributed data (the Shapiro-Wilk test). The Kruskal-Wallis test was used to compare >2 independent trials. The level of statistical significance was set at p = 0.05. Results: An average schoolbag weighted 3.57±0.58 kg. Schoolbag weight did not exceed 15% of the student’s weight in 75% of the students; however, the schoolbags of only 17% of the students weighed less than 10% of the student’s weight. The heaviest schoolbags were found among first-grade students. The girls had significantly heavier schoolbags compared to the boys (p = 0.037). The students using school lockers had heavier schoolbags than those who left unnecessary items on common shelves in the classroom (p = 0.006). Conclusions: The issue of heavy schoolbags remains a challenge for public health decision-makers despite the regulation that requires to provide children with space to leave books at school. The current rules do not effectively prevent children from carrying too heavy schoolbags. It is advisable to take measures to set an absolutely mandatory standard with which schools and students will be required to comply. Med Pr. 2020;71(6):687–97
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