Ergonomist Provides Online Guidance for Children to Avoid Injury at Computer

Article excerpt

AMERICAN CHILDREN typically spend between one and three hours a day at a computer. And that puts them at high risk for wrist, neck, and hack problems, says a Cornell ergonomist.

The problem is their sitting position. The rule of thumb is that knees and elbows should be placed at an angle greater than 90 degrees, says Alan Hedge, professor of design and environmental analysis and director of Cornell's Human Factors and Ergonomics Laboratory.

To help schools and parents provide safer workstations, Hedge is offering guidelines on the World Wide Web. The site, at ergo.human.cornell.edu/cuchild comp.html, provides the following articles: "Workstation Ergonomics Guidelines for Computer Use by Children," "Ergonomics and Children: How to Prevent injury in the Classroom," and "Ergonomic Guidelines for Arranging a Computer Workstation--10 Tips for Users."

Hedge, who has co-authored several research papers on how computer use by schoolchildren puts them at high risk for injuries, now offers ways to combat these injuries. Among his recommendations: Students should have good back support, they should place their feet on the floor or on a footrest, and the angles of their elbows and knees should be no tighter than 90 degrees. …