BSI’s Environmental Health and Safety experts unveil their top ten tips for supporting remote learning amid the COVID-19 pandemic

BSI’s recommended ergonomics adjustments can help promote health, safety and performance

BSI, the business improvement company, has compiled a list of the top ten ergonomic tips for keeping children focused and injury free while learning at home.

As the school year begins around the country, many school districts are still grappling with the decision of whether students will attend classes in-person at their school, do remote learning online, or a hybrid version of the two. Regardless of a school district’s decision on remote or in-person education, it is important to consider the ergonomics of at-home work stations given the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Most in-person learning centers are focused on proper seating positions, however learning at home can often be less structured which in turn could lead to ergonomic-related injuries such as sore wrists, backs, and necks.

“This is a challenging time, however we can make the most of it by keeping our kids healthy and focused, while at the same time ensuring they don’t have unnecessary strain or injuries,” said ergonomics expert Jessica Ellison, Director, BSI.

To combat potential injury and maximize health and focus, these are BSI’s top ten tips for keeping children comfortable and injury free while working from home.

Using common household items:

  1. Utilize reams of paper or books as laptop risers to bring the top of the monitor up to eye height. The key is to make sure kids aren’t leaning over to view the screen.
  2. Use pillows or couch cushions to add additional height to chairs to raise kids up so that their elbows are at the same height as the surface they are working at.
  3. Use an empty box as a footrest if a child’s feet don’t touch the floor. This keeps their legs supported and will reduce the contact stress on the back of their legs.

With a budget of $25 or less:

  1. Purchase an external mouse to reduce the awkward postures caused while using a touchpad. This also makes it much easier to control the cursor on the screen. Be sure to pick the right size mouse; the mouse should support the palm without over extending. Look at travel mice for smaller kids.

For a budget of $75 of less:

  1. Add an external keyboard, and possibly a lapboard or similar lap/knee-top computer support. Make sure that these items fit as well; typically, a keyboard that is about the same width of a child’s shoulders will work well. Again, look at travel-size items for smaller children.

If your budget allows:

  1. Consider purchasing a height-adjustable desk. This will allow children to be positioned optimally, and most provide the option for standing; a great way to switch up their positioning. Make sure it lowers down to their seated elbow height.

Other tips to help change the scenery and refresh:

  1. Use a lapboard on occasion to allow children to sit on the couch and work for part of their day.
  2. Give them movement and mental break times – go for a walk around the block at lunch, play in the yard on quick breaks, and take other shorter and more frequent breaks during the day as well. As little as a minute or two standing up after sitting for an extended period can help with comfort and mental fatigue.
  3. If they get stuck on an assignment, resist the urge to have them push through; give them a moment to relax and de-stress by letting them do something they want to do for 15-30 minutes. The change of pace will help them recover and reengage with the more difficult task.
  4. Adults too. Remember, with most people continuing to work remotely, these same tips that apply to children, are just as important for adults.

“Ergonomics at home isn’t something most people had put much thought into in the past, but now with children distance learning it’s something parents need to consider,” Ellison continued. “Luckily, most accommodations can be made with items you have around the house, and these same tips apply to adults as well; it’s just as important for us to be mindful of our posture and positioning, as well as our mental wellbeing.”

For more information from BSI on ergonomics, visit: