What Parents and Educators Should Know About Children’s Ergonomics
Children's ergonomics is a concept that refers to how kids relate to the environment where they are studying and playing. It's all about accustoming such spaces to the needs of the child, providing them with enough comfort so they can complete their activities with ease while also reducing the risk of injuries.
Considering that children grow at least 2.5 inches every year, it’s almost impossible to build a room that accommodates a kid permanently. Hence, these challenges must be taken into account so we can build an environment with the appropriate ergonomics for kids.
We’ll describe everything that parents and educators should know about children’s ergonomics. After all, kids spend almost every day either at home or at school.
The Importance of Children’s Ergonomics
A study conducted on about six hundred elementary school students found out that at least 33% of them were struggling with back pain, most of them being around 9 years of age. The same study found out that the numbers rose considerably as the children grew, as the same problem had a prevalence of 48% in 15-year-old teens.
Lower back pain is a problem that affects a very high number of adults worldwide. Without proper ergonomics for children, it can lead to bigger problems in later stages of life. Therefore, the best way to start inculcating good ergonomics is during childhood.
It’s essential to take into account that these years are crucial in a child’s formation and development. It can be a great time to establish good habits related to sitting and studying.
Ergonomic Sitting for Children
Although most children spend their days being active, in reality, it is the opposite. Most children spend a great part of their day sitting. Developing bad sitting habits from an early age can lead to improper bone formation and spinal issues, such as postural kyphosis. These problems can be especially complicated to correct once the child grows.
According to experts, when it comes to ergonomics in the classroom or at home, the same rules that apply to adults can be practical to children. In other words, you should keep in mind the 90-90-90 rule while trying to build an ergonomic space for your child. Here’s how this rule works:
- The kid should sit with a straight back, and it should form a 90-degree angle along with their thighs.
- The thighs should lay flat on the seat, forming a 90-degree angle along with their knees.
- The feet should lay flat on the floor and should be forming a 90-degree angle along with the shins.
This is the ideal position that both children and adults should follow. However, please note that it’s impossible for a human being to remain seated in the same position for prolonged periods, so it’s completely normal for your kids to change positions from time to time. That’s why it is important to teach children not to hunch or slouch too frequently.
Ergonomic Furniture for Children
Ergonomically designed to support growing bodies over many years. Ideal for anyone between 3 feet 2 to 4 feet 7 tall. Weight capacity of 275 lbs. 7 easy ergonomic positions.
An adult’s ergonomic mesh office chair is not appropriate for a kid, as the dimensions are not appropriate for a smaller body. Therefore, you should equip your child's study room or area with furniture appropriate for their bodies. For instance:
- If you’re an educator, you may want to take a look at some elementary school desks and comfortable school chairs to get an idea of what could be better for children at school.
- It's important to consider buying an ergonomic chair for children, like the Autonomous ErgoChair Junior.
- There are tons of desks for students available out there that can provide enough comfort to your child while they’re doing homework. A good desk for children you can consider is the SmartDesk Junior, which allows you to modify its height at convenience.
It’s important to equip your child’s room with the appropriate ergonomic furniture. You can also take into account a few office accessories so they can have everything they need to be comfortable during their study sessions.
Ergonomic Computing for Children
It’s not only about the right furniture and settings. Technology is now part of our lives, and, therefore, your kid will need a computer (or a laptop) to be able to complete certain assignments. That’s why it is important to consider some of the essential ergonomic computing rules for children.
Here we have some tips you can consider for ergonomic computers for children:
1. Computer selection
Desktop computers are a good option, as it allows you to build an optimal environment with the appropriate distance between the user and the accessories needed. However, a laptop is more convenient as your child will be able to take their device anywhere.
When choosing a laptop, try to choose one that Is lightweight. Your child may get a wrist or back injury from carrying a heavy laptop.
It's also advisable to invest in an external monitor so that it can be at a more appropriate distance from the eyes of your kid. This way, they'll be less likely to deal with eye strain and may also help them become more productive in the long run.
Remember that your kid should have supervised and limited access to a computer device, especially if it has access to the internet.
Although laptops come with built-in keyboards and touchpads, the truth is that external devices are more convenient and ergonomic for your child.
When choosing a mouse, try to pick one that has a size appropriate for your child's hands. You should be able to find tons of kids' mice around the web or in local stores. A small vertical mouse may also promote neutral wrist positioning, preventing wrist pain in the process.
3. Other considerations
One study suggests that children cannot process blue light as well as adults do, which can cause harm to the eyes during their development, such as an uneven sleep schedule or perhaps eye strain. Hence, your child should only have limited and supervised screen time to prevent these problems from messing with their development.
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