Ergonomics are just as important for kids as they are for adults. After all, they have the same bones and muscles we do, and poor posture or ill-fitting furniture can cause the same musculoskeletal dysfunction in children as they can in grown-ups.
Of course, most kids don’t choose the furniture they sit on, and very few understand the importance of maintaining good posture at all times. It’s our job as parents and caretakers to create ergonomic environments and provide education that help to limit the risk of musculoskeletal disorders later in life.
So, here are some things caregivers should know about ergonomics for kids:
6 ergonomic tips for people caring for children
1. Kids need a chair that fits their body — Kids grow at different rates, but they’re often forced to sit in one-size-fits-all chairs that may not suit their body at all. While you may not be able to choose the chairs they sit in at school, you can get them an adjustable desk chair for the house so that they can sit with their back supported and their feet flat on the floor.
2. They may need a footrest — Sitting with your feet flat on the floor ensures that your body weight is fully supported by the chair and ground. Make sure the children in your care have footrests for support if the chair is too tall for them to place their feet on the ground.
3. Keep their monitor and television slightly below eye level — Children may find themselves staring upward at the computer screen or TV for hours at a time. However, this posture can strain the neck’s joints and muscles, leading to pain and headaches.
4. Keep their backpack light — A backpack shouldn’t weigh more than 15% of the person carrying it. That’s only 10.5 pounds for a 70-pound child. Anything heavier can lead to back problems in the child (or adult), so monitor their backpack contents to keep them healthy.
5. Provide adequate lighting for reading — When we talk about ergonomics for kids, we have to talk about eyesight. Preventing eye strain is just as important as preventing strain in the rest of the body. Therefore, it’s important to make sure that kids have good lighting when they are reading.
6. Make sure they take breaks — Sitting for long periods without taking a break is associated with diabetes, heart problems, depression and a range of other adverse conditions. Schedule breaks throughout the day to get them up on their feet and moving around.
Preventive physical therapy for kids
Many physical therapy clinics offer child-specific PT classes to teach kids how to maintain good posture in their day-to-day activities. A lot of these classes are designed for children who play sports, and they can go a long way in preventing injuries. In considering ergonomics for kids, you may want to consider enrolling your children in a class like this.
Alliance PTP is ready to help you find top-notch PT for children
At Alliance Physical Therapy Partners, we’re proudly bringing together physical therapy practices across the country to help people get the high-quality PT they need. Want to see a physical therapist in person? We can put you in touch with an Alliance PTP partner that’s close to you and that can provide care for your kids.
Not keen on in-person PT sessions or not close to an Alliance PTP partner? No worries. We also offer effective and affordable virtual physical therapy through our Agile Virtual Physical Therapy platform.
Contact our team today so we can help you find the most effective physical therapy services for your injury or condition.