As you teach healthy ergonomics, remember these neutral posture guidelines apply to children but can also benefit adults. The main focus is to always work in a neutral posture. Following these guidelines will ensure your child uses a computer in a comfortable and ergonomically correct fashion.
- Healthy upper body posture means the shoulders are back, relaxed and not slumped/slumping forward over the keyboard.
- The back/spine should be at a 90° degree angle supported by a chair with proper back support.
- The knees should not compress the chair seat. If they do adjust the seat to go back enough for the knees to be free.
- The knees should be at a 90° degree angle behind the knees and should be open.
- Don’t sit with legs and feet tucked under the chair.
- The feet should be firmly flat on a stable surface ensuring proper support on the floor or a footrest.
- The head should stay balanced and not tilted back or too far forward.
- The upper arms should be close to the body and relaxed.
- The elbows should be at a 90° degree angle and the forearm horizontal.
- The wrist should remain in a neutral position.
Let your child use the computer for a little while then adjust their posture and the workstation if needed, so they are working in the most neutral posture. Find ways to help them remind themselves of their posture and to take frequent breaks to stretch out and move around.
Create/Organize a Normal Workstation
- The work area should be a space that is easily accessible by a child while they can sit comfortably/properly without having to bend awkwardly or overly twist to reach for something.
- Keep the items that are used the most while working at the computer within arms reach.
- If your child needs to type and use a text document or book for reference, make sure there is a document holder/stand that is next or as near to the screen as possible so that they don’t have to turn or twist their head over and over or in a strenuous fashion. You want them to use their eyes with minimal head movement other than to look away for an eye break, a quick neck stretch and repositioning to stay comfortable.
Check the Screen Position
- The computer screen should be positioned to be able to comfortably view the screen without having to tilt their neck backward or forwards.
- Too high, the child’s neck will tilt back, and too low means it will be bent forward.
- Adjust the height and angle to avoid these incorrect postures.
Ergonomic furniture and equipment can help create a comfortable and adjustable workstation for your child as they grow.
- An ergonomic chair with height adjustment, adjustable/comfortable seat and proper lumbar back support.
- Make sure they work on a stable and sturdy desk with a flat work surface so that your child works in a neutral posture.
- An ergonomically tilted keyboard system or a height-adjustable keyboard and mouse platform can help keep the forearms and wrists in a neutral posture.
- The fit of the keyboard and mouse should be comfortable in your child’s hands.
- If they have small hands, then consider a smaller keyboard and mouse if necessary.
- Check the computer screen for glare areas/bright spots. This could affect the eyes and cause the child to start moving their head/neck around too much and in the wrong way that would create a crick or strain.
- Adjust/reposition the screen to get the correct angle for the proper posture or adjust the room’s lighting.
- Proper lighting is a must for reading and protecting the eyes.
- Make sure they take frequent eye breaks and look away at something other than a screen like a piece of furniture or out a window and that is farther away to readjust the eyes.
Computer Time Management
- Posture problems associated with computer use vary on the length of time that your child uses the computer, takes rest breaks and does other tasks/chores to keep them moving/stretching out and not staying seated or in one position for too long.
- Regulating computer time use is important and can be done just watching the clock and saying when is when or use an app to set the time on and off. These apps give screen alerts and tell when to take a break and provide simple stretching exercises.
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Because we spend so much time in a chair we need to have the right one that will protect our spines. Think of the chair as a piece of work equipment to optimize productivity. Ergonomics utilized to the fullest means less back pain and better focus.
The information herein on "Ergonomic Computer Use for Children El Paso, TX." is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own health care decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified health care professional.
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