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Good ergonomics needs to start at an early age for health & wellbeing for life!

Written by: Angela Dean  

One Size Does Not Fit All!

Good ergonomics needs to start at an early age for health & wellbeing for life!

Ergonomics is the science of designing workspaces to prevent injury & promote health, safety, productivity & comfort.  As we are doing more and more work from home, it is important to ensure our children are set up for success and this includes first and foremost good posture! 

A child’s primary workspace is their table and chairs and one size does not fit all! The worst thing of all is to have them try and sit at an adult-sized table and chair and expect them to stay there and be productive!

 

Good ergonomic positioning has the following key benefits:

  • Increases a child's concentration
  • Reduces fatigue (muscles are not working unnecessarily to keep balance)
  • Prevents musculoskeletal injury through incorrect posture of the neck, shoulders, hips and back
  • Reduces a child's stress
  • Improves their fine motor skills as their arms are supported, allowing their hand/finger muscles to work more effectively
  • Teaches children early on in life good body mechanics, therefore preventing injuries later in life.

 

How is your child sitting in their chair?

 

 

As you can see in the two images; when Jack is sitting at the adult desk his whole body's posture is curved, his feet are dangling, shoulders are hunched. He looks uncomfortable and is unlikely to be able to sustain this position. 

In the second image Jack is sitting at a child’s sized table and chair that suits his height and age.  

 

When evaluating your child’s posture, think 90-90-90

  • 90° hip flexion
  • 90° knee flexion
  • 90° ankle position (feet flat on the floor)

 

Other important things to ensure your child’s good posture:

  • Back straight
  • Body facing the table squarely (no twisting)
  • Shoulders and neck relaxed (shoulders should not be hunched)
  • Forearms in a comfortable position resting on the table to allow hands and fingers to work

 

 

One Size does not fit all

 

The table and chair height chart above is a guide based on a child’s age and the recommended table and chair height to provide the best ergonomic outcome.  See Bellbird’s extensive range of different tabletops that can be mixed and matched with different sized table legs as well as a variety of different chair options of different heights.  

 

 

Take a break

As well as having good ergonomics at a child’s sitting area it is also important to have posture breaks every 30 mins to get the body moving to ensure we have good blood circulation, use different muscle groups to prevent repetitive strain & also give your child a break which will increase their concentration when they need to sit back down.  Some great activities that will also improve gross motor skills and core muscle strength are:

 

Added support

Some children may need extra support to sit comfortably for extended periods and the following may be good for them.

Billy Kidz Ergonomic Stool is recommended for children who move a lot (can’t sit still).  This stool has a unique design which allows the child to rock gently from side to side or in a circle which provides the child with sensory feedback & improves their core muscle strength.

 

A therapy weighted lap blanket can be used to drape on the child’s legs to provide them with proprioceptive input.  This helps to reduce frequent leg movement and prompts them to keep their feet and legs in a good position flat on the floor.

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