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Importance of Children’s Ergonomics

Children’s ergonomics is the practice of creating an environment that is optimal for focus and healthy skeletal and muscular development. Similarly to adult ergonomics, ergonomics for kids places a huge emphasis on molding the environment around the person, working with the natural posture and tendencies of the human body, and fostering injury-free, comfortable spaces.

Unlike ergonomics for grown-ups, ergonomics for children comes with the added challenge of children constantly growing and changing. So, ergonomics takes on a significant role in the development not just of good habits and posture, but of healthy skeletal development in these important formative years.

Fostering children’s ergonomics at home and at school nurtures good habits that will last little ones throughout their schooling and well into adulthood.

Posture impacts learning

You may be asking yourself, why is ergonomics important? Tablets, laptops and smartphones are ubiquitous these days, and that means that even children are being heavily affected by the ergonomic challenges of the digital age. Whether it’s for homework, gaming, or just chatting with their friends, kids are spending more and more time in front of a computer screen. But why is computer ergonomics important? Sitting incorrectly or for long periods of time can be detrimental to back health, and this is true for children as well, so it’s important to make sure kids are sitting correctly throughout their growth and development.

“Sitting correctly” may sound crazy, but children spend 85% of their school day seated, which translates to countless hour. If a child spends so much time sitting at a computer the wrong way, he or she can develop some bad habits that can lead to orthopaedic issues in the present and later on in life. In fact, poor posture can affect bone and muscle development and has been linked to conditions including postural kyphosis, scoliosis, lordosis, and back pain.

Naturally, comfort fosters concentration. Being uncomfortable or in pain at school or while working at home hinders children’s ability to focus. Ensuring an ergonomic environment not only results in good posture and fends off future issues, but also promotes learning.

Embracing correct posture with the help of ergonomic desk chairs for kids, backpack and laptop ergonomics and ensuring regular breaks is essential for ensuring ergonomics at home and ultimately creating healthier, happier children.


Height and ergonomics for kids

Ergonomics, especially children’s ergonomics is not one size fits all. The obvious challenge when it comes to ergonomics for children is the fact they are constantly growing. This problem is relatively easily addressed at home with flexible furniture such as adjustable desks and desk chairs for kids which are specifically designed to accommodate growing bodies.

But allowing for this is even trickier in a classroom setting, where children vary in height and build even if they are the same age. Kids that are too tall or too short to sit at their desks comfortably struggle to participate and absorb what they’re learning. In a perfect world, accommodating height in classroom ergonomics would involve adjustable chairs and desks, but there are some other ergonomic considerations that are more accessible both at school and at home.

Backpack ergonomics for kids

As something kids use almost every day, backpacks have considerable potential for hindering good posture and diminishing spine health over time. Ill-fitting or heavy backpacks can cause lasting spinal problems including scoliosis, kyphosis, lordosis, and back pain - all of which are preventable with backpack ergonomics.

Our tips for good backpack use are:

  • Use both straps when carrying the backpack
  • Remove the backpack while waiting for the bus or for class
  • Ensure the backpack never weighs more than 10% of the wearer’s bodyweight

Laptop ergonomics for kids

The importance of computer ergonomics cannot be understated. Laptops and smartphones are an integral part of life today, so it’s only natural that children will navigate phone and computer use and the associated ergonomic problems as they grow into older children and adolescents. But excessive screen time can cause considerable health problems.

Screentime and health

Macular degeneration: Macular degeneration is when the photoreceptors at the back of the eye are diminished resulting in reduced vision and potentially blindness. Macular degeneration happens over time and excessive blue light exposure may contribute to it.

Eye strain: Digital eye strain from heightened blue light exposure can cause eye fatigue, blurry vision, as well as neck and back pain.

Poor sleep: Blue light from screens tells our brains it's daytime because it disrupts melatonin production. The result is a dysregulated circadian rhythm and later bedtimes which has knock-on effects on physical health, mental well-being, and concentration.

A significant part of smartphone and laptop ergonomics is limiting screen time so it’s important for guardians to limit usage and encourage more physical activity. 

Ways to do this include:

  • Incorporating unplugged time into the home’s routine around dinner time and bedtime
  • Establishing tech-free zones like the bathroom, dining room, and kitchen
  • Encouraging hobbies and activities that don’t require technology
  • Setting a timer for screen-free breaks every 30-45 minutes and encouraging stretches, walking, and hydrating during these breaks

For younger children under five years old, a maximum of 1-hour screentime is recommended. For teens and children over five, a maximum of 2 hours of screen time is ideal.

Ergonomic laptop setup

The ideal ergonomic laptop setup for children involves flexible furniture that can adjust as they grow.

A good chair is the foundation for every ergonomic setup. Our GetOne® ergonomic chair for kids is specially designed with children in mind, offering pain-free lumbar support, adjustable features, and an array of fun colours. Check it out here.

Ergonomic accessories like a footrest, monitor stand, and laptop stands all contribute to the optimal seated position for good posture and a pain-free back and neck for both children and adults.

Other important aspects of laptop ergonomics are ensuring the top of the screen is at eye level, and an arm’s length from the user.

Exercise breaks

Frequent exercise breaks are central to a healthy approach to work, which starts in childhood. Getting up and moving every 30-40 minutes or in between lessons is important when it comes to home ergonomics or ergonomics in the classroom. So be sure to encourage your children to stand and stretch repeatedly. Not only is this a great way to emphasise the importance of ergonomics in daily life, but this is also helpful for aiding concentration.

Active sitting

Active sitting is any form of sitting that engages the core muscles and it’s a useful way to allow young children to move and fidget while sitting, engaging their muscles more than normal sedentary sitting. Allowing for such unrestricted sitting can help address the restlessness that children often experience. An hour or so of active sitting each day is important for muscle strength and development in children. If you want to incorporate active sitting into your home ergonomics, a yoga ball or wobble stool is a good investment. If you are aiming for improved ergonomics in the classroom, having something like this and allowing the kids to take turns using it will help. 

Strengthening exercises for good posture

Good posture that protects your back depends a lot on strong stabiliser muscles in your back and core. If these muscles are in good condition, they hold your spine in good alignment, reducing your risk of back pain so it’s vital that you keep your stabilising muscles strong.

Easy exercises to strengthen your stabilising muscles and embrace ergonomics at home include:

  • Prone alternate arm and leg raises
  • Shoulder blade squeezes
  • Chest stretches

Self-help with massage balls for tight muscles

Apart from posture exercises, massage balls are another way to improve posture for ideal ergonomics at home. Studying often involves being hunched over a desk, but regular breaks, stretches, and exercises will help. If your children are still experiencing stiff and tight muscles, having access to massage balls or rollers will empower them to help themselves.

Ergonomic furniture and desks for kids

More and more paediatricians and physiotherapists are reporting that prevalence of back pain in children is on the rise. Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) have become a common issue, even for children, as computers become more and more commonplace. If left untreated, it is possible to develop chronic pain. The importance of ergonomics in daily life cannot be understated.

Small changes, such as having the right junior study chair that encourages good posture, or re-positioning the screen or keyboard can help prevent problems before they even start. Ergonomics at home is possible with carefully selected desks and furniture that support the kids whether they’re new to school or studying for those final exams.

Ergonomic chairs for children

An ergonomic chair is one of the central elements of ergonomics in the classroom or at home. Ergonomics for sitting at a computer is one of the first places to learn correct posture. An ergonomic office chair should offer plenty of lower back support and allow for the 90/90/90 rule:

  • A 90-degree angle between the back and thighs.
  • A 90-degree angle at the knees.
  • Feet flat on the floor or footrest, creating a 90-degree angle to the shins.

Sitting correctly also involves having a straight back, with the shoulders touching the backrest to avoid slouching.
Ergonomic seating is just as much about conscious practice as it is about the chair itself, so encourage your children to use their chairs correctly.

Ergonomic desks for kids

Effective ergonomics for students at home also requires a high-quality ergonomic desk. Our sit-stand desks are the ergonomic solution for correct posture while working. They can cater to children as they grow, growing with them and allowing for frequent movement, which is invaluable to learn before they head out into the workplace.

Ergonomics for kids: Conclusion

Children’s ergonomics are just as important, if not more important than adult ergonomics. As their bodies grow and develop, good posture and good ergonomics practices are vital to ensure optimal musculoskeletal health. Thanks to ergonomic desk chairs for kids, ergonomic desks, and regular exercise and self-help, we’re able to equip our kids to handle the computer-driven lifestyle of today form a very early age.

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