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Do children need ergonomic products?

09 June 2022

The word ergonomics has now firmly taken root in western notions of work. We no longer accept rickety plastic chairs that leave your back crooked and aching or screens at awkward angles that inflame the neck.

Times have changed and today ergonomics are an enormous part of how we are attempting to address the growing number of ailments caused by our increasingly sedentary lifestyle and the many hours sat at a desk.

But while ergonomics might have become part and parcel of the working world, when it comes to children, things are far less straightforward.

What is ergonomics?  

Ergonomics is all about finding efficiency in how we work. It’s about discovering the best way that humans can interact with equipment and a working environment that often focuses on medical ailments and long-term health issues.

This might include how a chair is designed to provide adequate lumbar support or simply the height level of certain shelves in the office.

While ergonomics covers a broad range of aspects, it’s often most associated with office equipment, methods of working, and environmental factors at work.

The changing lives of children

While it can be relatively straightforward to talk about ergonomics when it comes to fully grown adults, it can be tricky when discussing children who are continually growing and are often at different stages of development.

Many assume that because they never had ergonomics products as children, kids these days don’t require them either, but this misses one enormous point - the life of a child has changed dramatically over the last few decades.

Whereas children once played outside for much of the time available, today children spend about half as much time outside compared to when their parents were children - equating to an average of just 4 hours spent outside per week.

This wouldn’t be such an issue if children remained active, but unfortunately, they too have been caught in the web of screens, tablets, and sedentary lifestyles. Children who once climbed trees now spend hours staring down at screens and the effects can be just as damaging to children as for adults.      

Do children need ergonomic products?

We are gradually beginning to understand that ergonomics is as important to a child as it is to adults. While children might not suffer the same kind of back pain in quite the same way that an adult who has been set as a desk for thirty years will, muscle and bone issues among the young are on the rise.

A staggering 58% of teenagers studied in the United States found that their spines were deformed in one way or another, often blamed on poor posture or extended periods of sitting. Another study found that 33% of 9-year-olds and 48% of 15-year-olds suffer from lower back pain.

It’s clear that children are suffering from the same kind of problems as adults and we should be thinking about the products we use with them with the same level of ergonomic consideration that we do for ourselves.  

What ergonomic products can you use for children?  

FlexiSpot offers a wide range of ergonomic products either specially designed for children or which can be adapted for a child’s use.

The Kids Desk for Homeschooling is an excellent start and can be raised and lowered to provide a standing or sitting environment for your child to study. Children naturally like to move around so a period of standing will probably come much more naturally to a child than it would a seasoned office adult.

Active seating is another factor to consider, and FlexiSpot provides several wobble stools that are perfect for children’s use and has been shown to provide kids with exactly the kind of low-level movement needed to keep them active while improving posture.

Our wobble stools are height adjustable and swivelable and have been scientifically proven to improve posture, increase blood flow and build up core muscles.    

Conclusion

It can be easy to think that because children’s bodies are always changing and are much more malleable than adults, they don’t require the same level of ergonomic consideration. However, because of the enormous changes we have seen over the last fifty years in terms of lifestyle, many children are in danger of carrying long-term health issues into adulthood.

Purchasing decent ergonomic products for your children needn’t cost the earth and will almost certainly benefit them in the long run. We must begin to let go of the fallacy that children’s bodies are simply bendy and can easily adapt to a wide variety of situations.

The truth is that a child’s body can develop the same kind of issues as an adult, and considering it can start when they are in primary school, if not addressed properly, it could be serious issues well into adulthood.