Last two weeks of the school holidays, which means back to school shopping starts in earnest now. Ugh.
But as I make a mental list of the things that are needed for the new school term, nothing is more important than ensuring my boys have comfortable schoolbags resting on their shoulders come 2015. Because let's face it - No parent wants his or her children bearing too much weight on their shoulders, especially since kids' schoolbags can be stuffed with everything from books to files to yesterday's recess food.
And as the boys progress higher up the primary school ladder, I find that their schoolbags are also getting exponentially heavier which spells bad news for their posture since one's back may become hunched in order to support the ever increasing load. And that is the primary reason why I only insist on ergonomically designed school bags and no, I do not mean those character-themed backpacks.
But how does one go about choosing a schoolbag that is suited for the child's height and weight? In order to find out, I brought the boys down to ERGOWORKS in Marina Square, the retail arm of IMPACT Ergonomic Schoolbags in Singapore.
Did you know that IMPACT is the ONLY multi-awarded ergonomic brand founded in Singapore since 1997? It is also the ONLY ergonomic brand that has been medically endorsed and recommended by both the Singapore Physiotherapy Association & The Chiropractic Association (Singapore). But if I had originally thought that ergonomically designed schoolbags equates to bulky and ugly designs, I was proven wrong the moment I set foot in the shop.
The first thing I learnt from the helpful staff is, when choosing a suitable schoolbag for kids, it is important to bring them down to the store to have them try it out. Because just like how fit is everything when it comes to clothing, and the same is true for schoolbags.
Ideally, the schoolbag should just rest snugly on the child's shoulders because anything less, it will cause the bag to tilt backwards and hence, the tendency for the child to lean forward in order to compensate for the shift in weight. Over time, this leads to poor posture and undesirable spinal health. Yes, a vicious cycle I know.
Also, ensure that the shoulder straps are tightened so the weight of the schoolbag rests on the lower back.
The thing that caught my attention about the IMPACT Schoolbag was its ergonomically designed backcare system. The bulging contours on the back of the bag are designed to follow the natural contour of the spine, supporing different parts of the back of the child and hence giving better support for the child’s spine.
But what took the cake for me was the adjustable feature its shoulder straps. This is the first time that I have seen something like this - shoulder straps that can be detached and adjusted according to the child's height!
What this means is the schoolbag will still be a good fit even as my monkies grow taller. All I have to do is secure the shoulder straps into the appropriate height level and voila! I have to admit, this customised feature really impressed me.
Of course, me being impressed was not enough. The boys had to feel comfortable when carrying the schoolbags since they will be the ones using them. You know how some schoolbags already weigh a ton even before it is filled with books? Well, not for the IMAPCT schoolbags as they are the lightest ergonomic schoolbags in its class.
And this fact was not lost on the boys when they first tried carrying one. Ayd remarked that the bag feels incredibly light while Ash exclaimed it was really comfortable carrying the schoolbag.
The key to the 'light' feeling lies in the bag's functional design which redistributes the load’s pressure effectively and an inner elastic band to stabilise the bag's centre of gravity. A big thumbs up also, to the bag's EZ parachute pull tabs which makes it absurdly easy for a child to adjust the shoulder straps while carrying the schoolbag.
But no matter how great a schoolbag's design, everything will count for nothing if it is not able to last for long - especially since a schoolbag tends to have a hard-knock life of being unceremoniously plopped, kicked, and thrown, and weaker materials just do not stand a chance.
IMPACT schoolbags use high grade nylon from Korea and are cross stitched at all stress points with strong seam locks to ensure durability. In fact, not only is the material water and UV resistant, the bag also comes with 3M safety reflective materials which makes the bag, or rather, the carrier of the bag more visible to motorists in poor lighting areas.
No wonder IMPACT schoolbags have been voted as the Best ergonomic schoolbags by reputable magazines, and well trusted by many parents, schools and children worldwide.
And so, the boys made their schoolbag choices after some deliberation - but not before checking out some of the other ergonomic furniture for kids on display at ERGOWORKS.
These were the boys' choices.
Personally, I loved the vibrant colours and designs of the bags. And something tells me they do too.
With a heavier load to bring to school next year, the wifey and I were really concerned about the increased weight on the boys' spine and shoulders and their eventual bad posture. But with these ergonomical schoolbags now - and the chest belt which prevents the swinging motion of the bag - we are greatly comforted.
If you are thinking of purchasing a new schoolbag for your child to welcome the new school term, great news! ERGOWORKS is offering a 15% discount on regular-priced bags for Passion, SAFRA, OCBC Baby Bonus & Cordlife card members. Or better yet, bring in an old IMPACT schoolbag for a trade-in discount of 20% on a new one!
For more information, visit ERGOWORKS' website. Or better yet, head down to one of its showrooms to get a first-hand feel of its ergonomic schoolbags:
6 Raffles Boulevard #03-337 Marina Square
(level 3 Art of living furniture zone)
Opens Daily: 11:30am - 9.00 pm
Telephone: 6837 3370
176 Orchard Road #03-36 Centrepoint
(level 3 next to LALU boutique)
Opens Daily: 11:30am - 9.00 pm
Telephone: 6836 8488
1 Woodlands Square #03-26 Causeway Point
(level 3 next to Kiddy Palace )
Opens Daily: 11:30am - 9.00 pm
Telephone: 6893 8488