Giving our children all the support they need: Tips for healthy young backs from AGR
(lifePR) (Selsingen, )Life begins in earnest for children once they start school. Dolls and toy cars make way for pencil cases and school books. Young abecedarians have to get used to a whole set of completely new daily routines, as well as coping with all the challenges of school life. Their bodies also have to come to term with new stresses. Carrying a satchel - which in the first grade is often even bigger than the child's back - every day and sitting still for hours in class and when doing homework puts a strain on the young back. As growth and development are still in progress, excessive strain can quickly have painful consequences. It is a sad fact that there has been a drastic increase in back problems among children and youngsters in recent years. To relieve the strain on the backs of young children and prevent future back problems, parents should ensure that their children have enough exercise, as well as paying special attention to ergonomic everyday products.
The AGR e.V. (Campaign for Healthier Backs) offers valuable tips and useful information in the search for such back-friendly products. The acknowledged quality seal "Tested & Recommended" identifies everyday products that have been found to be particularly back-friendly by an independent, interdisciplinary commission of medical experts and therapists.
Satchels: designed not to put too much strain on the back
After the excitement of the first day at school, routine soon sets in: walking to school, sitting in class, walking home, homework - with the satchel as a constant companion. To avoid the risk of backache, attention should be paid to certain attributes when purchasing a satchel:
- The straps should be well padded and at least four centimetres wide. It should be easy to adjust them and they should not slip.
- The side of the satchel that is in contact with the child's back must have an ergonomic surface, be made of pressure-resistant, non-slip material and have permeable padding.
- The compartments of the satchels should be designed so that heavy items can be placed close to the body.
- Rule of thumb: the satchel should only contain what is really necessary. In the long-term, a fully packed satchel should not weigh more than fifteen percent of the child's bodyweight.
- Some satchels in the brand "Sammies by Samsonite" (www.sammies-schulranzen.de) bear the AGR quality seal as a reliable aid for parents looking for an ideally ergonomic product.
Desks and chairs: please don't sit still!
One frequent cause of backache in children is unergonomic desks and chairs. On average, school children sit for nine hours a day, unfortunately in settings that often date back to the '80s: uncomfortable chairs and rigid desks often result in poor sitting posture. Movement is scarcely possible. And yet today's experts recommend furniture for the office, the school and the home that promotes active dynamic sitting, supporting a child's need to keep moving. Back-friendly desks and chairs for children should fulfil the following requirements:
- The chair should have movable seat to permit frequent changes in position and to adapt to different sitting postures. To check the seat's height, when the child stands next to the chair the knees should touch the front edge of the chair; when the child sits on the chair, both feet should be flat on the floor.
- When buying a desk, special attention should be paid to an adjustable table which should tilt to an angle of at least 16° for an ergonomic posture of the head. The height is perfectly adjusted when the child's elbows are two to three centimetres below the edge of the table when sitting upright with the arms hanging down.
- Desk and chair should form a unit and be well adjusted to each other; it is also important for the desk and chair to "grow" with the child in time.
- AGR-certified desks and chairs are available from Moizi (www.moizi.de), VS (www.vs-moebel.de) and aeris (www.swoppster.de).
Child car seats: for healthy car rides
Long journeys often result in backache, not only for the adults but also for young passengers. Many child car seats on the market are uncomfortable and static, frequently resulting in backache. Child car seats should not only fulfil all the safety conditions but also meet the ergonomic requirements for young children. Here are a few examples of the most important attributes of an ergonomic child car seat:
- The seat must be robust and adjustable to the child's individual needs. These include above all an adjustable back, head and shoulder support, side support in the pelvic area, adequate freedom of movement and adjustable seat length (from age group II)
- The back rest and the seat itself should be designed to allow air to circulate, preventing any unpleasant perspiration.
- Impact shields are ideal at least for age group I.
- Fitting and handling the child car seats should be quick and easy for the adults.
- AGR-certified child car seats are available from kiddy (www.kiddy.de).
Hopping, jumping, balancing - movement is vital
On starting school, children begin to acquire more knowledge, while on the other hand often not getting enough exercise. They frequently sit still for hours on end, not just at school and while doing their homework but also during their leisure time - watching the television or spending hours on the computer and games console. Lots of exercise offers the right balance for preventing future back problems. But how is this possible in a city where there aren't enough parks and playgrounds or when the next sports club is too far away? One solution consists in playing, training and sitting apparatus with various air-filled elements for exercise and variety even in the smallest space, in the confines of the child's own home. The big advantage is that they give children freedom to move while being fun to use and good for their health at the same time. Playing, balancing, jumping and standing on these exercise devices is fun, enhances the exercise repertoire and improves confidence in movement. Togu (www.togu.de) offers a large range of AGR-certified sporting apparatus with air-filled elements.
*** AGR Grand Draw ***
Win a bit of health with the AGR! The AGR Campaign for Healthier Backs is raffling a few items that bear the AGR quality seal, with the final closing date on 31 July 2011. These include a satchel "Sammies by Samsonite", a kiddy child car seat, a Moizi chair, a PantoMove by VS, a swoppster by aeris and a jumper by TOGU.
More information on the draw and many tips for starting school in a back-friendly manner are available on the internet at: www.agr-ev.de/schulanfang.
Life begins in earnest for children once they start school. Young abecedarians have to get used to a whole set of completely new daily routines, as well as coping with all the challenges of school. Their bodies in general and their backs in particular have to come to terms with new stresses. Carrying a satchel every day and sitting still for hours puts a strain on the young back. To relieve the strain on the backs of young children and prevent future back problems, parents should pay special attention to ergonomic everyday products. School children should also have plenty of exercise as a balance to the hours spent sitting down and to strengthen their muscles. The AGR e.V. (Campaign for Healthier Backs) offers parents valuable tips and useful information in the search for back-friendly products. The acknowledged quality seal "Tested & Recommended" identifies everyday products that have been found to be particularly back-friendly by an independent, interdisciplinary commission of medical experts and therapists.