Joy started Primary School last year and, by now, I have learnt much on how to pick the school bag and accessories she needs.
Joy’s school bag weighs a ton, even when we have tried our best to work with teachers to minimising her burden. On a daily basis, she has lessons in Math, English and Mother Tongue and some days she also has periods for CCE. At the start of the school year, what she is likely to have to bring to school (some for keeping in class of course) are as follows:
- Textbooks and activity books for all subjects
- A story book for reading during assembly ( I make her pick a light book each day)
- A snack box (and another lunch box if I pack her a lunch)
- A pencil case
- A box of color pencil
- A file for any paperwork she needs to bring to and from school (not in picture)
- A packet of
nonsensesome things she would like to share with her friends (Random, changes from day to day)
It is a heavy load. Even for me.
Last year, we invested in an ergonomic school bag from Dr Kong because, while I did not want to carry her school bag for her, I want to do my best to protect her posture and maximise comfort. However, I realised that the weight of her books and accessories causes her bag straps to redjust on their own. The bag then drags her whole frame backwards when she walks. It requires frequent re-adjustments and that was difficult for her to do on her own.
Here are photos of how she stands when she wears her Dr Kong school bag:
I have 3 different lunch boxes to use for her, depending on what I decide to pack for the day. She requests a packet of wet wipes for using after snack break, which makes sense.
Her Dr Kong bag has only a small pouch where she could barely fit a lunch box and some wet wipes in. It doesn’t work for days when I pack some other food for her that requires a bigger container. In addition, we prefer a school bag that has appropriate compartments for things like her lunch box for snack breaks in school and her pencil case, for ease of retrieval, which converts to less time wastage. This is not available in the Dr Kong bag, and she just has to fish her pencil case from the other spaces in the bag.
Here’s how her Dr Kong bag looks like with everything packed in and with the different lunch boxes we use:
I can only pack one (1) lunch box a day for her due to space constraints. She has to hold any other lunch box I may pack with her hands.
With these experiences in mind, these are what we now look out for in a school bag for primary school:
- Weight – the bag itself must not be heavy to begin with. However that is relative to the size of the bag, which will undoubtedly increase as she grows up.
- Size – the size of the bag must not be overwhelming for Joy’s tiny frame.
- Compartments – we need compartments for lunch box, water bottles and preferably pencil case.
- Ease of re-adjustments – I want to be assured that Joy can re-adjust her bag by herself if she feels uncomfortable.
This year, we picked an IMPACT school bag from Ergoworks because I found that they check off all the boxes for us. I liked it that they are endorsed by The Chiropractic Association (Singapore) and Singapore Physiotherapy Association and there are a number of designs that feature well sized compartments we require. Having had an earlier experience of an ergonomic school bag, I was particularly happy to note the highlighted features in IMPACT school bags:
- Patented Airy Light Back-Care System to Reduce Stress on Spine and Back
- Stress-free Backpack Straps / Comfy U Neck Fit Back straps
- USA 3M Scotchlite Reflective Safety Materials
- Multiple Organizer Compartments with Elastic Strap
- Patented Chest Stabilization Belt
- Parachute Pull Rings
- 100% Made in Korea High Quality Ballistic Nylon
- Air Breathable Ventilation System
- Anti UV, Dust and Water Resistant Materials
- The lightest weight of Truly Ergonomic bags in its class / category
- Feather-light weight design with Sturdy Structure
- High Quality Self Repairing Recoilless Zipper with Loop Lock Design
Design wise, we looked through the website before heading down to the showroom, because I know that there are more than 50 designs to choose from and I wanted to shortlist some to save time. To be honest, my impression of IMPACT school bags were that the designs were unattractive, but I was surprised to find some pretty nice ones, like these.
I like IMPACT IM-00337 (2nd from left above) the best, because it looks animae-ish and it has this additional entertaining function, which will suit Joy well if and when she has to wait for me.
Joy was adamant though about picking the dark purple version of IPEG-135 because she is currently into “dark side” (gothic) colors. We went with her choice in the end since its her school bag and her choice does seem to have more suitable compartments for our specific needs.
Here’s how her IMPACT bag looks like with everything packed in and with the different lunch boxes we use:
Between the Dr Kong bag and the IMPACT bag, I prefer the IMPACT bag for how it retains its shape and seem to have much better weight distribution, judging by the way it stands on its own, instead of being weighed down by its contents.
It is also attractive to me that the IMPACT bag has a designated pouch Joy could use to contain her pencil case. It fits their Multi-compartment Stationery Pouch exactly and when zipped up, the bag remains sleek and nice. I’m especially pleased that the location of the lunch box pouch and the pencil case pouch seem to help with weight distribution of the items that Joy has to carry.
If you’re buying IMPACT school bags for the first time, I would highly recommend you head down to the showroom (locations here) with your child instead of buying online. At the showroom, there will be trained staff who can assist to pick the right sized school bag for your child.
They can also show your child how to store contents in the school bag to reduce stress on your child. All hard cover books and files needs to be stored in the primary compartment (far back). The remaining books may be stored in the secondary compartment, but all content MUST be placed within the elastic straps, so that it can hold them vertically upright to reduce the instability pullback force due to shift of centre of gravity.
The same concept appears to also apply to Dr Kong bags (judging from the make of the bag, we didn’t get the same advise when we were at the specialty shop in Hong Kong). I like that the structure of the Dr Kong bag allows Joy to be able to see and reach for the specific book she wants easily while the IMPACT school bag does not. However, in terms of keeping weight distribution, I believe the IMPACT school bag does a better job, since it holds the books securely, preventing them from weighing Joy down at the back.
Here are videos of how Joy wears her Dr Kong school bag versus how she wears her IMPACT school bag.
For her Dr Kong bag Joy does not bother to adjust it, even though it hangs wrong on her body because of it’s weight and causes her to try and lean forward to compensate. This is because she has tried to adjust the bag many times before and is unable to because the weight of the school bag makes it hard to adjust.
At the Ergoworks showroom, Joy learnt how to loosen the straps before wearing her bag to prevent injury. She not only knows how to tighten it but also knows how to adjust it if it feels uncomfortable. I think it’s really important for her to learn from the staff at Ergoworks, as opposed to me showing her, because I might not be able to spot where she went wrong so I’m sure glad we visited the showroom. Here’s a video I took when she was being coached:
Here’s a comparison of how Joy stands when wearing her Dr Kong school bag vs her IMPACT school bag. You’ll be able to observe how the Dr Kong bag pulls her back with its weight and she tries to compensate for it. On the other hand the IMPACT school bag does well to keep the weight distributed and she maintains a good posture comfortably.
Overall, I am very satisfied with Joy’s new school bag, as you can tell. Between Dr Kong and IMPACT, my choice is obvious.
In the last year, we tried a variety of bottles from different brands and at the end of the day, I feel that any BPA free bottle between 500ml to 700ml will do, so long as the parts are easy to take apart to clean. However, like all mothers, if I can make her water healthier, I will. Hence, this year, we also got Joy an IMPACT Nano Ion healthy water bottle.
Heres what the nano ionizer bottles does:
These water bottle comes in various designs and the nano ionizing function works forever as long as the bottle exists. However, when you start seeing scratches on the inside of the bottle or it is no longer a clear looking, it is time to change. The lifespan of an IMPACT water bottle is about a year.
We have already started using the bottles and are very pleased with it. The clasp is easy to open up for Joy and yet the bottles remain water proof when it is locked. Parts in the bottle can be cleaned easily.
I am aware that the hole in the picture above hole is to relieve the pressure and regulate the water flow better. Ergoworks has also informed me that the water will not leak unless the children angles the bottle to almost upright, but both Joy and I (I bought a bigger bottle for myself) experienced the situation where we were doused with water when drinking, and that’s my only gripe about it.
Carry Bag & Pencil Case
A primary school going child will have to bring pieces of work to and from home. You can provide an A4 sized clear file for them to slot in the papers and receive school work, or you could provide a carry bag for them to contain these. Occasionally, Joy has had to carry a white board for learning purposes and some art work as well hence, this year, we opt to provide her with a supplementary bag. Just a basic, simple one from IMPACT will do!
We also got a new stationary pouch for Joy from IMPACT because it is roomy and the color matches all her school going bags.
Ergoworks has a Purchase with Purchase promotion now, where for every school bag purchase of $90 and above, you can opt to top up just $9.90 (Usual price $46.80) for the Back to School bundle to receive a supplementary carry bag + stationery case on top of your school bag. Its a really good deal in my opinion.
While we were at the showroom, I saw the IMPACT ergonomic desk and chair furniture which were displayed right beside the bags and were intrigued. Anthony, the staff who assisted us throughout, explained how the tables could be adjusted and why it is ideal for children to write on a slanted table.
When reading or writing at the desk, Joy often contorts her body into a hunched position with her head hanging over her work. In the long run, it is definitely not good for her posture and spine health. If the table could be tilted an a comfortable angle (approx. 30°), this could be avoided and she would be able to learn with an erect body posture and you could also avoid headaches and backaches in this position.
Here are the Ergoworks’ ongoing promotions for your information:
- 20% trade in offer for any condition of IMPACT bags
- 15% discount with SAFRA membership card & Cordlife Circle membership card ( regular priced bags only)
- $9.90 Back to School special set consisting of a supplementary carry bag and a stationary pouch, with a minimum of $90 bag purchase.
If you would like to visit Ergoworks, here’s how to get in touch with them!
Other than Ergoworks’ ongoing promotions, I’m giving away Two (2) IMPACT Ergonomic Air Light Spinal Protection Backpack Model No.IPEG-226 worth S$169 each (your choice of Pink, Purple or Blue), one on Facebook and one on Instagram.
Follow the steps below to win. Best of luck!
- Like Simplified by Estella Facebook page, EG Facebook page , and ErgoWorks Facebook page
- Comment on this Facebook post on which feature you like about IMPACT backpacks and school accessories or any queries you may have with Ergoworks ergonomic products. Tag 3 friends who might want to win too and #SimplifiedxGiveaway
For a bonus chance to win, share this post with your family and friends and tag Simplified by Estella Facebook page.
- Comment on this blog post on which feature you like about IMPACT backpacks and school accessories or any queries you may have with Ergoworks ergonomic products.
- Follow @estellagoh, @simplified.sg and @ergoworkssingapore on Instagram
- Like this Instagram post
- Tag as many friends as you can, one in each comment. The more you tag, the higher your chances of winning.
- This giveaway is by no means endorsed, administered or affiliated with Facebook or Instagram.
For a bonus chance to win, repost my post, tag @simplified.sg and #SimplifiedxGiveaway
Terms & Conditions
- This giveaway will be held on Facebook and Instagram, you can choose to enter one or both giveaways.
- All mandatory steps indicated must be completed.
- Giveaway is open to Singapore residents, aged 18 and above.
- Both giveaways ends 26 December 2018 at 2359 hours and winners will be contacted in private and announced on my social media platforms.
The Dr Kong school bag was purchased by ourselves from Hong Kong and the IMPACT school bags and accessories were provided by Ergoworks for the purposes of this post.
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