Children ergonomics involves optimising their studying environment to enable them to play and study with increased comfort while reducing the risk of developing poor ergonomics-related consequences, such as back pains, decreased flexibility, poor blood circulation, and the development of poor lumbar curve.
Children are continually growing. Hence, a one-size-fits-all solution does not work for healthy ergonomics. What would be considered a comfortably-fitted chair for a fully-grown adult would not be appropriately fitted for a growing child.
Taking the complexity of child development into consideration, here are some critical factors of children ergonomics that all educators and parents must consider at school and home.
Importance of children ergonomics
As technology, such as laptops and tablets, is increasingly incorporated into the education system these days, it also means that paying attention to ergonomics is more than just a work consideration.
In recent years, the medical scene has seen an increasing number of children suffering from back pains, strains, and spine deformities due to poor sitting postures because of the lack of proper ergonomics. If not detected and treated early, it might lead to spondylolisthesis, a spinal condition that occurs when one of the vertebrae shifts forward, resulting in it being out of place.
When it comes to ensuring healthy ergonomics, it is best to start young, especially during their formative years, where ideal long-term studying, computing, and sitting habits can be developed.
Ergonomic sitting for children
Many might have the misconception that children are constantly active and running all over the place. However, in reality, most spend their time sitting or lying about their house. Bad sitting postures from a young age can result in the development of poor bone formation. The child may develop spinal conditions, such as postural kyphosis, which is the hunching or rounding of the back. Such issues can be hard to correct in their later stage of life.
To ensure an ideal sitting posture among children, physical therapists and ergonomists agree that the rule of 90-90-90, which is recommended for adults, should also be the same for children. This 90-90-90 rule involves:
- The child’s thighs and back form a 90-degree angle
- The child’s thighs completely touch the seat, forming a 90-degree angle at the knees
- Both feet completely touch the floor, forming a 90-degree angle with the shins
It is natural for children to fidget or switch their sitting positions constantly. Hence, the most crucial thing to educate them on is the importance of not slouching and hunching over.
Ergonomic computing for children
Most children these days would have access to either a computer, laptop, or tablet at home, where they would game or complete their homework. Hence, the need to develop fundamentally strong computer ergonomics is vital to prevent back discomfort, wrist pains, and eye strains. There are two things to keep note of; Computer or laptop setup as well as keyboard and mouse position.
1. Computer and laptop setup
When it comes to children, the lighter the laptop, the better it is for them. Children carrying bulky laptops around in their bags or hands can easily injure their small backs and wrists. If using it at home, always ensure that the laptop screen is at eye level. An adjustable study table and ergonomic chair can help them to adjust the various height and angles to accommodate healthy ergonomics. However, if getting new ergonomic furniture are too costly, then an alternative solution would be to get a sit-stand desk converter that can allow your child to raise the laptop to the appropriate height easily.
Additionally, consider getting an additional computer monitor, especially when at home. Children’s arms tend to be shorter. Hence, in order to reach the laptop’s keyboard, they would have to move closer to the laptop screen, resulting in them slouching forward and straining their eyes. By using an additional computer monitor, not only can they use the built-in keyboard comfortably, but they can also place the monitor at a healthy distance from the eye, reducing eye strain.
2. Keyboard and mouse position
An external keyboard and mouse will always be ergonomically superior to a laptop’s built-in ones. In order to prevent arm pains and wrist pains, consider using a smaller keyboard without the additional number pad and also using an ergonomic mouse that allows the position of a neutral wrist. With such ergonomic features, they help to minimise wrist rotation and forearm pronation, which causes carpal tunnel syndrome.
Backpack ergonomics for children
The most significant ergonomic danger for children going to school and back home is the backpacks they carry around with them.
Heavy or poorly worn backpacks increase the risk of spinal deformation, such as back pain, scoliosis, lordosis, and kyphosis. Hence, to begin with, parents need to ensure that their children’s backpacks should not exceed 10 per cent of their own weight.
Additionally, always remind them to put on both shoulder straps when they carry their backpacks and take off their backpacks when waiting for the bus.
Tablet and mobile ergonomics for children
Overusing digital devices can impact children’s social interaction, vision, attention span, mental health, cognitive development, and sleep quality. If these dangers are not enough to convince you, the repetitive movements and awkward position children assume when using such devices often lead to them developing gamer’s thumb and text neck, which is the forward bending of their neck when using their mobile devices.
Hence, in order to minimise such development, always remind your children to hold their devices up towards their eye or chest level instead of waist level. It is always best to use it on the desk rather than holding it freely. This way, they can utilise a smartphone or tablet stand to help them hold it at the right height.
It is vital that, whether parents or teachers, you educate your children on responsible, healthy, and ergonomically methods of using smart technologies as well as lead by example. Nevertheless, TakeAseat’s Ubi furniture shop and Woodlands furniture shop have a wide range of ergonomic furniture and accessories suitable for children, such as tables, chairs, and bags, among others. Do visit https://www.takeaseat.sg/ to find out more today!