Children Also Need Ergonomics in the Workplace

Adults are no longer the only ones who sit in front of a computer screen for hours; As children are increasingly teaching at home this school year, often with Chromebooks or other laptops, it is important to make sure they are set in the most ergonomic position. Adopting good habits at a young age will reduce the likelihood of developing pain or injury now and in the future.

The basics

The same basic principles of ergonomics for adults apply to children. The best position is the neutral position, which places the least stress on muscles, bones, nerves and blood vessels. This means sitting with:

  • Their feet are on the floor (or on a stool or stack of books if your child’s feet do not reach the floor).
  • The chair is raised so that their knees are about hip level and their backs rest comfortably on the front edge of the chair.
  • Monitor at eye level and about arm’s length
  • Their back is supported by the back of the chair (or a pillow between the back and the chair) up to the shoulder blades.
  • The forearms are parallel to the floor with minimal wrist flexion.

A good rule of thumb: if it looks uncomfortable, it is probably wrong ergonomically.

You don’t need fancy equipment

Whatever posture problems you see in your child – for example, slouching, the inability of his feet to stand on the floor, or a laptop that is too low to be at eye level – can be solved with the supports you have on hand. House. Occupational therapist Stacy Rumfelt explains to the Macaroni Kid :

Pillows can be used to support your child if they slouch in the chair. Placing the pillows behind your back will allow them to sit right on the edge of the seat. In addition to pillows, a stack of books can raise the laptop to a higher screen position to prevent slouching. [I] also recommends a document holder that can reduce cervical flexion.

If your child’s feet are unable to touch the floor, items such as boxes, drawers, or a stack of books can quickly fix the problem. The goal of creating a home workspace is to maintain a neutral posture to minimize pressure on the neck, back and limbs.

She suggests trying these simple, inexpensive fixes first, and only switching to more expensive tools, such as a children’s keyboard and mouse, if posture problems persist.

Remind them to get up and move

Remember that children’s bodies have to move. Ergonomic therapist Meredith Chandler writes for the Ergonomics and Health Association:

Aside from active stoop, there is no “wrong” or “right way” for a child to sit as long as movement is involved.

Very few children will purposefully sit in the strict 90-90-90 position at school because they are built to move.

As long as fidgets or movement does not interrupt the learning curve, teachers should allow children to move around throughout the school day.

So this is one of the benefits of virtual learning – if they are not currently talking on Zoom with other students, no amount of bothering or getting up to walk a few laps in the living room will not interfere with their classmates. Encourage the children to take frequent breaks to get up and move, dancing to a song, jumping in place, or jumping over the backyard.

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