Ergonomics for kids is just as important as it is for parents.
Photo by Julia M Cameron
Whenever we think about ergonomics, our thoughts quickly move to adults. Seldom do we consider it as crucial for kids. We are guilty of assuming that our kids are amazingly flexible and resilient, but that’s wrong. Studies show that one in three kids experience back pain and other ergonomic-related injuries, and the numbers are rising. Experts believe that investing in ergonomics for kids is just as important as it is for adults. It should be a priority when considering your family’s well-being.
But what should be your top concerns regarding kids’ ergonomics? Here’s a look at what studies reveal, the top issues affecting kids, and what you can do about them.
What else do the studies reveal?
In a first-ever nationwide survey of back pain among minors by the National Health Institute, it emerged that the ailment was more prevalent among girls than boys. The researchers noted that it was a rising problem, and the numbers grew significantly as the youths grew older. Most complained of lower back pain. Researchers also noted other issues like wrist pain, neck pain, and eye problems.
The number one factor that contributed to the ailments was active participation in sports. Other factors were:
- The type of backpacks and the style of carrying – Those who used one shoulder reported back pain more often.
- Excessive screen time.
- Wrong posture when in class or at home.
Many didn’t seek medical attention, and the issues somehow faded away. However, doctors affirmed that it was crucial to seek early intervention. Measures such as switching to less strenuous sports, proper handling of backpacks, and investing in ergonomic equipment and accessories would go a long way in preventing future ailments.
Here’s what you can do to help your child avoid these pains.
Help your kids adopt correct sitting posture – in class and at home
Kids spend plenty of time sitting when at home or in school. Many tend to slouch, or they sit in an odd position. You may not be able to prevent this entirely, but you can help them adopt good habits.
- Teach them the 90-90-90 sitting rule: 90 degrees between the foot and sheen (at the ankle), the shin and thigh (at the knees), and the thigh and torso (at the waist) with the back up straight. The position of the arms and neck (if using a computer) is also crucial.
- Invest in ergonomic furniture like desks and chairs. It will help them achieve the position. Since kids grow fast, adjustable furniture could be a better option.
Put your money into the right computer and accessories
Like it or not, your kids will spend more time on the computer than you anticipated. It is an essential learning and working tool. But if you do not have the correct machine or accessories (ergonomically), you could be courting a ticking time bomb. So put your money into ergonomic equipment and accessories to avoid physical health problems. The following pointers will help you promote healthy computer use.
Get an appropriate machine
Which machine should you get for them, a desktop, laptop, or tablet? The latter two may seem attractive due to their mobility. However, concerning ergonomics, a desktop would be the most appropriate choice. The separate components and ability to use monitor raisers make it possible to adopt the correct sitting posture.
Use ergonomic accessories
Does your kid use a laptop? Consider providing an external keyboard and mouse and an ergonomic mouse pad. You could also purchase accessories like laptop risers (to raise the screen to eye level). This way, they can use it in the most ergonomic position possible.
Limit screen time
We mentioned that your kids could spend more time on the computer than you anticipated. But that doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be any holds whatsoever. You can creatively introduce screen time restrictions to protect their eye health.
Prolonged exposure to blue light can cause eye strain and trigger lasting eye damage. It also affects sleeping patterns. Young eyes are more vulnerable. Therefore, limiting screen time is crucial.
Help kids adopt correct posture during routines
Do you use routines to help your kids stay on top of things? You can help them even more by teaching and facilitating the correct posture. For example, teach them to avoid a bent posture. Instead, they should work within arm’s reach. Provide ergonomic tools, equipment, and furniture. You should also model best practices and have a rotation schedule.
There’s nothing wrong with looking at your child as an amazingly flexible and resilient person. But remember that they can also develop ergonomic-related injuries. Help them avoid these issues (that could have lifelong consequences) early by cultivating good habits and using the correct tools and equipment.