At least 70 percent of America’s 30 million elementary school students use computers and as a result, doctors of chiropractic are treating more young patients suffering from the effects of working at computer stations that are either designed for adults or poorly designed for children. If children and adults in your home share the same computer workstation, make certain that the workstation can be modified for each person’s use. Specifically, for children:
- Position the computer monitor so the top of the screen is at or below the child’s eye level. This can be accomplished by taking the computer off its base or stand, or having the child sit on firm pillows or phone books to reach the desired height.
- Make sure the chair at the workstation fits the child correctly. An ergonomic back cushion, pillow or a rolled-up towel can be placed in the small of the child’s back for added back support.
- There should be two inches between the front edge of the seat and the back of the knees. The chair should have arm supports so that elbows are resting within a 70- to 135-degree angle to the computer keyboard.
- Wrists should be in a neutral position while typing – not angled up or down. The mousing surface should be close to the keyboard so your child doesn’t have to hold his or her arm out.
- The child’s knees should be positioned at an approximate 90- to 120-degree angle. To accomplish this angle, feet can be placed on a foot rest, box, stool or similar object.
- Reduce eye strain by making sure there is adequate lighting and that there is no glare on the monitor screen. Use an antiglare screen if necessary.
- Limit your child’s time at the computer and make sure he or she takes periodic stretch breaks during computing time.
From the ChiroHealth newsletter by the American Chiropractic Association.
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