Desk Ergonomics: School Laptop Tips.
Our children’s growing and developing spine is at its most vulnerable during the school years where it can be easily affected by poor posture.
A recent study of 7500 school aged students in Australia has found that 25% or 1 in 4 of our children suffers from some kind of back and/or neck pain at any one time. It is found that this is caused by a combination of poor posture, the use of computers and school bags.
With a little parental guidance and education, we can help prevent spinal stress and dysfunction that causes pain, which may subsequently affect study and participation in sport and recreation. By adopting good ergonomics in using laptops, we will encourage good posture, proper sitting and minimises harm to our spinal health.
Some Tips for you and your children when using laptops:
Laptops should not be used on the lap. It is best to work with your laptop on a proper desk or table to minimise bad posture and the amount of strain on your neck and shoulders.
Use a document holder if possible to reduce strains to the neck. Place it in front or next to the monitor to prevent eye and neck strain.
Invest in a laptop stand. One that is height adjustable so that the monitor is at eye level. It reduces neck strain and helps to place the body in a neutral position.
Position the laptop in an environment away from the reflective glare of windows or surrounding light sources.
Keyboard and Mouse
Prevent repetitive strain injury and promotes ciruclation to our wrists and fingers by lifting up the wrists so that they are slightly flexed during typing.
Use an external keyboard and mouse in conjunction with the laptop stand. If possible adjust your keyboard, mouse or desk at the same level as the elbows so the forearms are parallel to the thighs when the feet are flat on the floor. This helps maintain blood flow in the hands and arms and decreases muscle strain and tension.
Use a height and seat adjustable chair. Use a height and seat adjustable chair to encourage good posture. The height of the chair should be adjusted so the elbows are at the level of the desk or keyboard. Angle the seat of chair down so that the knees are lower than your hips. The seat should not extend more than 2 thirds of your thigh.
Use a foot stool if your feet do not reach the floor. This helps avoid pressure on the back of the thigh and maintains good circulation.
Our body is poorly designed for sitting and using laptops. The amount of neck and shoulder pain are directly proportional to the amount of time we spend using them. After every 20 minutes on the laptop, we should take a break and walk around for a few minutes.