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Saturday, September 26, 2015

Backpack Vs Trolley Bag For School

Backpack Vs Trolley Bag? Which will it be? Parents are weighing this decision while kids are getting
weighed down by the load or workbooks year after year. This post will talk about the pros and cons of both the backpack and trolley bag and give you some tips to help you decide which type of bag is best for your little one.

When I was young, we didn't have to worry about such things. I remember having a red and black tartan checked rectangular school bag that looked like a suitcase. The bag weighed quite a bit but our books didn't. Packing the school bag was easy then since the bag was rectangular. We just sat the bag on the floor, put the stuff neatly in and snapped the suitcase cover shut. All done. We didn't have trolley bags before. Those were for the airport for long distance travel! However, these days trolley bags are a common scene in schools.

Now, things have changed quite a bit. Bags looked a lot fancier with cartoon characters, glitters and other styles. However more styles also mean more decisions to make. Let us put styles aside and just decide on the make. Backpack Vs Trolley Bag. Which will it be?

"The best tip we can give you when deciding what type of bag to buy is to study the school's layout."

Will your child be on the ground floor? Usually the lower primary school students will be placed on the lower floors so you may find that in Std One, your child may be on the ground floor. In that case a trolley back can help to reduce the load for him. However, there are other factors to consider. On days when he has to stay back in school for extra curricular activities. Does he have to carry his bag up and down from one classroom to another.  Does he have to carry his bag up and down buses? Or will the transporter be assisting? Will he have to maneuver through stairways before he reaches his ground floor class.  If on the higher floor, how far does he have to carry his bag from the bottom of the stairs to the area where he waits for his transport. 

Many will tell you that a trolley back adds to the weight when dragged up the stairs. However do consider the overall layout. If your child has to drag the trolley back up just one flight of stairs but has to walk very far from the bottom of that stairway to the area where he waits for his transport, a trolley bag may not be so bad after all. So study the location!

I have seen many kids bump their trolley bags noisily up and down stairways and later glide and roll them happily all over the school. If the flight of stairs is short and the rest of the distance is long, the worse thing is the wear and tear from all that bumping.

Tips for Choosing Trolley Bags

  1. Make sure you check the wheels. Are they strong and sturdy? You child will be dragging the bag along everywhere. From home to school to classroom to rocky road surfaces and up and down buses too. If the wheels go, your trolley bag is useless so check the wheels. 
  2. Check the mechanism for the handle. Is it easy for your child to pull up and down easily. Does it lock firmly in place? Will you be able to get a replacement easily?
  3. Some trolley bags are detachable. Although this may seem like a good idea, you may not really use your trolley bag as a backpack, unless your trolley or handle breaks down. Also, since it is designed to be more of a trolley back, the backpack may not be as sturdy as an actual backpack so think twice before going for detachable ones. 

The advantages and disadvantages of backpacks

Backpacks are portable and does not have added weighed when carrying up and down stairways. Usually kids will move on to backpacks once they reach higher primary for several reasons:
  • They are on the higher floor
  • Trolley bags become too childish for them
  • They are older and stronger
Be mindful of this fact when buying your child's first bag. If you are using a trolley bag, you will most likely have to change it by the time your child is in Std 3 or 4. Try to factor this in your costing decisions. You should also be mindful of the design. A favorite cartoon design now may not last throughout the years.

Tips for Choosing Backpacks
  1. Make sure the straps are sturdy, broad, padded and firm. Thin straps will cut into your child's shoulders
  2. Take your child shopping with you so you can test out the fit to get one that is just the right size
  3. If the backpack comes with waist straps, make sure all the straps fit your child snugly and the bag is not hanging down.
  4. Make sure the straps are easy for your kids to tighten to the desired fit
  5. The back of the backpack should be padded well
  6. Check all the zippers to make sure they are working well
  7. Check the compartments and think about how your child will be packing his bags. If you want your child to put his tumbler with his bag, then an external compartment will be good so that you get extra space inside and also to prevent spillage. However do note that water tumblers add to the overall weight. The bag should be big enough to fit bigger books and files but not too large for your child.

Some ergonomic bags are quite expensive but do consider and plan for the fact that you may need to change a cheaper bag every year while you can keep the expensive one for several years. At the end of the day, it may turn out to be not too different cost wise.

Consider a homework bag

Apart from backpacks and trolley bags, you can consider a smaller rectangular size homework bag for storing homework for the day or exercise books to distribute the weight so that not everything is on the back.

"Once You Have Bought Your Bag, The Next Thing You Need To Do Is To Teach your child."

Teach Your Child

The best tip for you as a parent is to check the layout before deciding on the type of bag. However, once you decide, whatever type of bag you buy, the best thing you can do is to teach your child.

  1. Teach your child how to wear his bag safely (Backpacks should be carried over two shoulders, not one. Waist and shoulder straps should be tighten to fit but not overly tight. Let them practice with books in them.
  2. Teach your child how to walk up and down the stairs safely by holding on to the handrails. If he is using a trolley bag, teach him how to pull his bag up safely. Teach him not to run on stairs and to look where he is going.
  3. Teach your child how to pack his bag properly from Day One. Don't let bad habits start. Teach them to bring only the necessary books.
  4. If it is possible to leave books behind in school to reduce the weight, then teach your child to be mindful of his homework and books and to remember to bring those he needs home when necessary

"Remember that buying school bags is an exciting thing for your child, something to help him look forward to school. So enjoy the moment and Happy Shopping!"


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