An Ergonomic Summer Vacation for Kids June 14 2018
With school out and kids back at home for the summer, there’s a wide range of activities they can do with all their newfound free time. Depending on their age, making your kids’ summer fun and ergonomically safe can mean a variety of things. Consider how your child spends most of their time and what ergonomic hazards these activities may pose. We’ll go over some common summer activities and ways to prevent repetitive stress injuries that can result from these activities.
Surfing the Internet
Just like a desk worker that spends hours at a computer in a static position, a kid surfing the internet for hours will experience similar ergonomic challenges. Neck injury, back pain, and sore wrists can also result from long hours staring at a computer screen. Make sure your kids take regular breaks (about every 30 minutes) and that the computer monitor is an appropriate distance from their eyes. Teaching your kids the proper seating position for sitting at a computer for an extended period of time is also crucial. Kids should always have feet flat on the floor with their back straight against the chair.
Playing Video Games
Another common summer activity, playing video games also involved sitting for long periods of time and staring at a screen. It is more likely that they are a safe distance from the screen than when seated at a computer (if it is a console system), but there are other challenges to look out for. One of the most important things to pay attention to is posture. Many children, especially teenagers, never use proper posture when sitting on a couch or recliner chair when playing video games. Consider purchasing an ergonomic gaming chair for your child to keep them in a neutral and healthy position while playing for long periods of time. Many gaming controllers are also not designed with ergonomics in mind. They can put incredible strain on the muscles and tendons in the wrists, hands, fingers, and forearms. Encourage your children to take regular breaks or buy more ergonomic friendly controllers from third party vendors.
Extended time in the car is just like any other activity where one is seated for too long. It can have its own particular effects on your joints and muscles. Most people take breaks from long drives to let everyone “stretch their legs” and this is very important to do. Restlessness from sitting in the car for too long can lead to shifting into a variety of positions, many of them not good for your circulation. Some ergonomic travel items can help. Try a travel pillow, a portable footrest or back cushion. These can help ease the strain on you or your child’s back when sitting in a cramped car.
Summer vacation is a time for doing all the activities your children love they don’t have as much time for during the school year. Unfortunately, many of these activities involve technologies that encourage a sedentary lifestyle. Instead of battling your kids to avoid these activities, try instead to purchase them the appropriate ergonomic “gear” to keep them safe and healthy while they enjoy the pastimes they love.