Developing Ergonomic Tips for Kids

It is no secret that electronic devices such as iPads, computers, smartphones, and other tablets are soaring in popularity. As adults and children alike increase their daily use of these devices, it is crucial to develop proper body mechanics in order to interact with the technology in the healthiest way possible.

Ergonomics is the science of designing work to prevent injury and promote worker health, safety, productivity, and comfort.

Using ergonomics, you can help your child establish healthy habits to reduce stress and minimize the risk of injuries associated with the overuse of muscles, bad posture, and repetitive tasks.

If you’ve ever heard of or experienced “iPad Neck,” you likely understand the severe impact that poor positioning can have on the body during prolonged use of electronic devices. Neck and shoulder pain are becoming increasingly common symptoms of tablet use, as we often hold the devices in our laps with shoulders hunched and necks flexed forward. 

Studies have shown that work-related musculoskeletal disorders are the most prevalent, most expensive, and most preventable workplace injuries in the country. With this in mind, it is crucial to teach children, proper body mechanics, BEFORE their positioning becomes problematic.

Ergonomic strategies that can help your child:

1. Move toward a neutral posture. 

  • Consider purchasing a stand to position an iPad or tablet upright in order to free your child’s hands and keep his or her head and neck in a neutral position.
  • Get an external keyboard for your child to use with his or her iPad or tablet to encourage proper touch typing skills. Additionally, this will help keep your child’s head, neck, and hands in a healthier position, while maintaining the device in an upright position.

2. Take posture breaks and screen breaks every 20-30 minutes.

  • Remind your child to take small breaks to change the positioning, shift tasks, and perform stretches.
  • Have your child look away from the screen and change their focal point from near to far. Also, remind them to blink!

3. Remember the 90°-90°-90° rule (right angles at the knees, hips, and elbows) 

  • Encourage your child to keep his or her elbows bent about 90° when using a keyboard. Adjust the keyboard and workspace accordingly.
  • Remind your child to sit in a comfortable upright position with hips approximately at 90° and feet resting flat on the floor or on a footrest.
  • Attempt to have computer monitors level with your child’s forehead and at arm’s length distance.

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