Ergonomics for Children
These following guidelines will ensure that your child uses a computer in a comfortable and ergonomically correct way
Upper body posture
Back supported by chair (sitting back in chair with back >90 and well supported)
Chair seat should not press behind the knees
Feet firmly on a surface for support (floor/footrest)
Head balanced on neck (not tilted back or too far forwards)
Popliteal angle > 90° (i.e. angle behind the knees should be open)
Upper arms close to body and relaxed (not abducted to the side or flexed forward)
Elbow angle > 90° (forearm below horizontal)
Wrist neutral (<15°) (wrist/hand level with forearm)
Observe how you child uses the computer and then adjust the workstation arrangement so that s/he is working in the most neutral posture that you can achieve.
The normal work area is the space that can easily be reached by your child while s/he is sitting comfortably in the chair without her/him having to unduly bend or twist their body. Bring those items that your child uses most while working at the computer within this normal work area. If you child types from a text document or book, make sure that this is placed in a document holder and that it is as close to the screen as you can get it so that your child doesn't have to twist her/his head unnecessarily.
The computer screen should be positioned so that your child can comfortably view the screen without having to noticeably tilt her/his neck backwards or forwards. If the screen is too high, your child's neck will be tipped backwards, and if it is too low it will be bent forwards. You should change the height and angle of the screen to avoid these postures.
The following furniture and equipment is can help you to create the most comfortable and adjustable workstation arrangements for you and your child as s/he grows.
Check that the computer screen is free from glare spots (bright lights). To do this you may have to reposition the screen or adjust the room lighting. Make sure that there is sufficient light on any paper documents that your child is reading by using a freestanding adjustable brightness task light.
The risks of any postural problems associated with computer use depend upon the length of time that you child uses the computer without taking a rest break and doing something else. You can "watch the clock" to regulate your child's computer use
Although children have the same needs of adults when it comes to keyboarding, they also have some unique needs:
The computer is going to be an important tool in students' lives. We need to pay attention to how the computer is introduced to ensure students learn useful strategies on how to set up their workstations and develop good work habits. Understanding and Implementing Ergonomic principles is a critical component in this learning process and need to be incorporated into all aspects of computer use in schools and at home.
The student should be positioned in relation to the keyboard/mouse height. If the height of the keyboard/mouse can be adjusted:
Children and young adults with small hands may find that the smaller laptop keyboard is easier to use than a regular keyboard. Those with larger hands may find it uncomfortable. The basics shown for desktop computers above, also apply to laptop use ...
If your hands are large and using the laptop keyboard is uncomfortable, plug in a regular keyboard. You can also plug in a regular mouse.
Some students will find that looking down at the laptop screen is comfortable while others may find that it bothers their neck. If it bothers you, when you can, plug in a regular monitor and place it so that the top of the screen is at or below eye level.
Laptops are great for allowing you to change position...you don't always have to sit at a desk but keep the basics, above, in mind.