Once your child goes to primary school, the probability is high that he will be using a desk and sitting on a chair for prolonged periods in time. You may also have to invest in a desk and chair at home to accommodate workbooks, stationary, and school texts. Whether it will be used for playing PC games, doing homework, or studying, he will be spending many hours at his desk while doing these activities.
The number of hours spent at his desk will increase once he starts formal education. In this article we will be exploring the importance of investing in ergonomic chairs for children, to avoid long-term health-related issues.
What do the experts say?
More physiotherapists and paediatricians report a rising number in back pain cases in children. The most common reason is time spent on PCs. Computer technology has gained importance in our culture and is more ingrained into our daily lives than ever before, particularly in kids. This results in an alarming number of back-related health issues in youngsters since more time is spent behind their PCs.
Until recently, back pain-related health issues were restricted more to adults in their workplace. Nowadays, numerous healthcare experts have expressed concerns about the health of the PC generation declining with severe consequences as a result of poor ergonomics. It goes beyond just back-related issues in children. One of the main reasons for having insufficient data about RSI in kids, is because injuries to the spine and soft tissue are not easy to measure, a lot harder than traumatic injuries like broken bones.
The more computers are used, the more issues arise
One of the most problematic issues arising in computerized environments, is MSDs (musculoskeletal disorders). If insufficient attention is paid to ergonomics, the risk is high for developing chronic pain. In some cases, the pain will go away, while in other cases, it may be the reason for prolonged issues.
Tiny changes, for example investing in a proper chair which promotes good posture or repositioning your keyboard or screen can go a long way in preventing issues before they even begin. The Ergonomics Health Association shares valuable information on the importance of ergonomics and why you must address postural issues in children from a young age.
What difference can an ergonomic chair make?
Children spend hours doing screen time on their tablets and PCs. While these devices play an important role in interactive learning, they could also result in health issues if used for hours on end. The development years in a child’s life is quintessential.
If attention is given to their postures from the beginning, the chances of long-term issues, like chronic pain and musculoskeletal disorders is significantly reduced. Standard chairs typically have rigid seats that inclines backwards and meets the seating underneath. Children who sit in unsupported chairs or at a desk which is at the improper height, can experience instantaneous and snowballing effects over time. This can worsen with incorrect postural habits.
While there is not much, we as parents can do about the available seating options in school, we can do our part at home by having more ergonomic-friendly chairs for our kids. Buying an ergonomic chair and study desk will not only prevent poor postural behaviours, but it can also ensure that your child is in a relaxed and comfortable position when studying or using a computer at home. It is also a highly effective method for generating an efficient and conductive environment for your children.
Possible health issues for children who spend hours in front of their PC screen
Physiotherapists and GPs admit seeing young children that experience pain symptoms due to extended computer use. If you think about how grave some of these PC-related injuries are for adults, what kind of effects might it have on children? Some health concerns include:
- Bone development in children
Kid’s bones expand and calcify and the peak in bone density is reached during their late teens. Although certainty exists about the far-reaching effects of poor ergonomics, there is no doubt that it is a contributing factor for back pain in children that spends an extended period in time in front of their PCs on chairs which is not providing correct posture.
- Eyesight issues
Spending hours staring at a computer screen can damage your child’s vision system. It can result in myopia (also known as short-or near-sightedness) in kids that are at a young age.
- Chronic back pain
It can take years for MSD to develop. Issues with back, shoulder or neck pain might be a predictor for similar pain once a child reaches adulthood.
As mentioned before, it is not always possible to mandate change in schools, however, we can take the necessary steps to ensure that our children have less screen time and providing a comfortable ergonomic chair for those times spend in front of a PC screen. These changes in conjunction with stretching, more exercise, and overall a more active lifestyle, can do wonders for children long-term.
We have no influence over the demands of the PC era, however, with practical ergonomic wisdom and the right ergonomic furniture, we can empower our kids to handle such demands more efficiently.
What are the features of an exceptional ergonomic chair?
There are a few things that a great ergonomic chair has:
- Adjustable seat height
Any good chair should be equipped with a pneumatic adjustment lever to adjust the seat height. Seat heights ranges from 16 to 21 inches from the floor and are usually suitable for most people. Such a feature permits the user to have his feet flat on the floor, arms uniform with the desk, and thighs horizontal. Good posture is effective for reducing back pain.
- Seat depth and width
A great chair must have sufficient depth and height to support your child comfortably. The depth from the anterior to the hind of the seat must be sufficient for the user to sit with his back against the backrest, leaving about two to four inches between the back of your child’s knees and the seat of his chair. The backward and forward tilt of the chair seat must be adjustable.
We hope that this article has convinced you about the benefits of investing in an ergonomic chair for your child to help avoid possible long-term back pain issues due to poor posture.