School children in class.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
The stores are filled with new and colorful school bags and shoes, and many parents and their children are already buying them, even though more than six weeks remain before the school year begins.
Nili Arbel, a physiotherapist from Schneider Children’s Medical Center in Petah Tikva, advised on Sunday how parents can select the proper school equipment for their children.
School bags should have wide, cushioned straps that can be adjusted with buckles, she said. They should have a number of compartments so the heavy books and other supplies can be divided among them and not be bunched in one place on the back. Many children wear school bags over the lower back rather than the middle of the back, causing stress on the spine, she noted, and therefore they should be adjusted properly.
Make sure there are reflectors on the bag so that in darkness, drivers can see those who wear them.
School bags should never weigh more than 15 percent of the child’s weight. Consider purchasing a school bag that rolls on wheels, unless there are many stairs at school, as then it has to be picked up by hand and can cause back pains. When using a rolling backpack, pupils should alternate between the right and left hands to avoid uneven strain.
Buying suitable shoes and sandals is also important for the child’s health. Shoes should have rounded toes and fit properly. They must also be flexible and able to “breathe”; if they are too stiff, movement of the sole of the foot will be limited.
It is best to visit the store at the end of the day and not in the morning, as it is better that the feet are somewhat swollen from activity so the shoes are not too tight. Make sure that the child puts on both the right and left shoes to make sure both are comfortable when standing.