Basically, you should only take to school what is needed on this particular day. Schoolbags, that are not needed should be left in school – if poossible. Heavy books should be placed in the compartment closest to the back to ensure that the weight of the schoolbag is carried close to the body in order to relieve the back.
The upper part of the schoolbag should be at shoulder level. To achieve this, the shoulder straps of the Scouts can be adjusted. (General guide: S for kids up to approx. 110 cm, M up to 123 cm, L up to 136 cm, and XL from 150 cm onwards.)
Straps that are too tight strain the lower spine (image 2). Too long straps lead to hollow-back posture (image 3). The handle in the middle only serves for short-time lifting and for hanging the schoolbag on a hook – carrying the schoolbag in one hand would cause one-sided strain of the child's spine (image 4).
Children starting school come in all shapes and sized and they also develop differently. Parents may well ask themselves: can one schoolbag fit them all? In 2010, "Human Solutions", a company from Kaiserslautern in Germany specialised in bodyscanning etc., took measurements and back profiles from children aged 6–10 years.
Both boys and girls show a very different posture and back profile. Some typical features are: hollow-back posture, strong forward or backward bend of the upper body, protruding belly or protruding bottom. Children who have just started school can vary up to 9 cm in torso length.
Since children's backs are so different, Human Solutions does not recommend using schoolbags featuring an extremely pronounced back profile. In order to guarantee your child always feels comfortable when wearing a schoolbag, the back panel on all Scout schoolbags is only gently shaped and equipped with air-flow channels. This way, it can adapt ideally to the back of the child – irrespective of age or posture profile.
In the past, guidelines determined that the total weight of a backpack should not be more than 10–12% of the body weight. These guidelines, however, have no scientific support and originated from a recommendation for soldier field packs for a 20 km trekking distance.
More recently, comprehensive studies were conducted by the German University of Saarland. The results of the study “Kid Check Studie 2008” and “Schulranzenstudie 2009” show that a schoolbag can easily weigh more than 10–12% of the body weight.
There is no overall specific maximum weight that applies to all children. Experts, however, consider it harmless for a child's spine if the packed schoolbag weighs 17–20 % of the body weight. If it is only used sporadically or during a short period of time, a schoolbag may also be a bit heavier. Factors such as strength, fitness and general health determine the individual maximum weight for a child.
All Scout schoolbags have a very low empty weight. The straps have a buckle for easy adjustment of the schoolbag in order to evenly shift the load on the back. All models dispose of a vertically adjustable back strap system with integrated hip belt to shift the weight from the back to the pelvis.