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Having appropriate computer furniture for your children’s computer may not seem like a big deal. After all, everyone piles onto the couch on movie night, and half the time the kids squirm their way onto the floor anyway. But computer usage is different, because it is an interactive medium. Think of it this way: You wouldn’t just put your kids in the clothes you aren’t wearing, because they wouldn’t fit. Chances are, unless your children are in high school, your computer furniture won’t fit them either. Children use computers every day, both at school and at home, and improper computer furniture can lead to straining the eyes, neck, and wrists, and even to repetitive stress injuries. Proper computer furniture, including a childrens computer chair will make their computer use far less physically stressful.
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Why It Is So Important to Choose a Good Computer Chair
To prevent glare, lighting should illuminate the work area and keyboard, but not overwhelm the screen. A glare shield may help, but it’s best to position the monitor so that the lighting doesn’t cause glare in the first place. An adjustable keyboard tray and a footrest may be good choices for fidgety feet and for keeping wrists and arms positioned so that the lower arms are at about a 90 degree angle to the upper arms. Your choice of a good childrens computer chair will also help immensely. The top of the monitor should be at or below eye level. Looking up to read a screen causes headaches, eye strain, and neck pain. Children’s small hands may work better with a trackball than a mouse, but if your child is used to a mouse, you might consider a smaller mouse than the one you use.
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Thing to Consider When Choosing a Children's Computer Chair
Choose your childrens computer chair with care. The seat should not so long that it prevents your child from leaning against the lumbar support. If it is, then you may need a smaller chair, or a lumbar support pillow to fill in the gap between your child’s back and the back of the chair. The height of the chair should allow the feet to rest flat on the floor (or a footrest) and the back of the knees to be slightly higher than the edge of the seat. Kids grow fast, so an adjustable-height chair is a must. A high density foam seat will stand up to repeated use well and is comfortable. For chairs on casters, a 5-pedestal base is best. If a chair has armrests, they should be adjustable too. As for covering, vinyl is easier to clean, but fabric is more comfortable, particularly in warm weather. If your child is allergy prone, fabric covers are more inviting to dust mites, however. You don’t have to buy an adult chair and make it as short as possible because there are now computer chairs sized especially for children.
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Some Practical Information
Cross makes a kid-sized computer chair that is available for $117 from Best Source Office Supplies through Amazon.com that has sculpted foam seat and back, 5-pedestal base, arms, and pneumatic gas lift height adjustment. Office Furniture in a Flash makes a similar childrens computer chair for $75 that’s available through Amazon.com that has most of the same features, but no arms. eCrater.com also sells an adjustable child sized computer chair without arms for $79. A white finished wood computer chair for children from the Young America’s All Seasons Collection is available from greatpricedfurniture.com for $479, featuring a wide 5-pedestal base, and adjustable height.
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To Sum it Up...
Choosing a childrens computer chair carefully is the key to making your child’s computer use as comfortable and productive as possible. Like adults, when children spend prolonged periods of time using a computer while sitting in an ill-fitting chair and having to look up at the screen, they get headaches, neck aches, and eye strain. Improper wrist positioning can result in wrist pain that will be aggravated every time they use the keyboard while positioned wrongly. Today there are scaled down computer chairs that are designed to be comfortable for children, and these are a good investment, particularly if they adjust in height. With properly sized computer furniture and regular breaks for physical activity, computer use won’t result in discomfort, which can all too easily culminate in even less physical activity, such as flopping on the couch in front of the television for hours. Between schoolwork and homework, children spend several hours a day using computers. If their computer furniture fits them properly, they will be able to do their work (and play) without experiencing annoying physical stresses.