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School bags 'are too heavy'

Posted by SchoolDays Newshound on 05/05/2010. School bags 'are too heavy'Tags: Parenting Parenting Kids Kids Health

Irish school children are still being made to carry bags that exceed government recommendations, it has been revealed.

Writing for the Irish Independent, Michael Lynch, who carried out a study on the issue in 2006, noted that a government working group report in 2008 recommended that 12-year-old pupils carry books weighing no more than 3.7 kg.

However, he pointed out that average student of this age has a school bag weighing 11.8 kg.

"Under the 1989 Health Safety and Welfare Act, all employees must have, by law, manual-handling training given to them by their employers. No such legislation exists to protect students from lifting school bags that are too heavy," Mr Lynch commented.

He added that many of the adults currently suffering with back problems could have had their spines damaged during childhood as a result of this. reported last year that by time they reach their teenage years, 50 per cent of children will have experienced at least one episode of back pain.

Written by Donal Walsh


maureen kavanagh

(01-05-2012 19:45)

My daughter suffers with a back injury due to a car crash a couple of years ago we just about had her back on track when she started secondary school. I cannot believe how heavy her bag is she is in agony trying to carry it. she has missed so many days due to severe pain IM afraid she is falling behind in her education not to mention getting very depressed as she can only see pain ahead of her. Please will somebody stop this cruilty to yound teens/children. I hope and pray that she will not end up with mentel health problems even adults can only take so much pain before they have a breakdown. again I plead please STOP THIS CRUILTY.


(04-09-2012 17:31)

Again I would point out that you are exchanging one health problem for another instead of rushing to get Ipads which would lead to CVS and maybe photo sensitive epilepsy maybe the trolly school bag should be made compulsory in all schools so that all children would have them or allow children home from school on their lunch so they can change books which is done in the local secondary schools up my way that way they would only have to bring half the amount of books.

Ted Bradley

(15-10-2011 14:05)

I believe that there is little achieved by complaining about this problem, what we (I) need to do is to take action. I have highlighted this problem to the dept of education and the Health & Safety Authority but they want to shirk their responsibility and say it is up to us, parents, or the school to come up with solutions. I disagree with this and presently have set up a facebook page "lighten the schoolbags" can you please pass this link onto others so if we can get sufficient number of "likes" we will be able to get the dept. to take this issue seriously. Also on this facebook page I will be put up different solutions to this problem. For example the teachers are supplied with electronic copies of the books and which are usable on any standard computer why aren't the students supplied with copies? Please highlight the facebook page or if you have any alternative suggestions email me at

You could also contact so we can highlight this on the Joe Duffy show? I have tried but wasn't successful this time! Best wishes,

Ted Bradley, Ballyhea, Charleville, Co. Cork


(04-09-2012 11:04)

my daughter is the same the weight of the bag is rediculus something needs to be done and quickly i carried her bag there one day and the weight of it was unbeliveable why carnt the goverment see what this is doing to the children i thought they were bringing ipads it would help a lot


(04-09-2011 12:09)

Am totally apalled at the amount of pain my daughter is in today from carrying her books last week to school. She is a first year student and is dreading next week due to the pain. She is quite tall and sporty but not well developed and the bag with her books for one day is too heavy for me to manage, let alone carry around for a day.
When is something going to be done about this?
The problem is made worse by each of her ten teachers insisting on a hard backed copy for each subject!!
What a load of rubbish. My son used the same hard backed copies and they do not last longer if u have to travel far to school. They fall apart.
Why can't children use normal copy books or refill pads which may be then put into folders kept at home. This would decrease the amount of weight in the bags to at least some degree.
Today I am online trying to find her a rolling backpack to see if that will help.. but I will a) have to check with the school to see if they are allowed in the halls and b) have to persuade my daughter to use one as no other child apparently does in her school. The second option is to buy a second complete set of books ( which incidently I had to do for my son 3 years ago due to the same problem) but money now is tight as it is with everyone.
Frankly I am sick of it.. it costs enough to get a child to school in the first place.. and her health and back care means more to me than anything.
This issue seriously needs to be addressed.

ann smith

(02-09-2011 20:07)

shocked. my daughter started secondary school only brought home books & copies needed for homework and her school bag weighed 1stone 7lbs she only 12 yrs couldnt carry it . very upsetting pains in her arms etc.i cannot afford a second set of books even if i could its not on.i was against this ipad thats out now in some schools cause i felt it will ruin the book industry well to hell with it and curriculum hope they get rid of the books and make the pad compulsory my daughters health is suffering.


(13-03-2012 11:47)

See latest news story on heavy schoolbags on

Maire Hayes

(11-09-2010 20:18)

Where is the result of the study done in 2006. My daughter started secondary school last week and I am very upset over the weight of her school bag. She cannot even carry it not alone put it on her back. She is 12 will be 13 in December.

John Byrne

(12-03-2012 16:07)

My daughter and son have suffered from back pain when they started secondary school due to the heavy school bags. With all the new IT technology why do we still use heavy books that are hurting and damaging our children, dos health and safety not apply to school children?

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