Health & SafetyWhen thinking of adding technology to the child care program, pay attention to the health issues of using computers. From the beginning children need to be taught simple safety principles. Teach them to:
Poor posture can cause sore wrists, eye fatigue, headaches, neck strain and even back pain in children as well as adults. Since kids may be using computers both at home and at school, there is the potential for problems to develop slowly over time.
Because there are many sizes and shapes of kids in a child care program, it is important to pay attention to the proper fit of the furniture. If possible, use safe, sturdy, adjustable furniture that fits the child. If adjustable furniture is not available, have furniture that fits the different sizes of the children using it or make adjustments for the individual children using the following guidelines.
The monitor should be 2 to 2 1/2 feet from the child's eyes. To
encourage the proper distance, make the screen easy to see and
read at that distance. A larger size font or print on the screen,
such as 14 or 16, bold print, and greater line spacing can make
Time at Computer: Children should be encouraged to use their physical energy, not to spend lots of sedentary time at a computer. Little kids wiggleso let them wiggle, stand up, sit on their knees, or change positions while working at the computer. If they continue to move around during their computer time, they will be healthier and have fewer injuries.
Seat Height and Posture: The child should sit high enough so that his or her arms bend at 90º angles when typing or using the mouse. If the height of the chair is not adjustable, use cushions, foam rubber, or even a phone book to reach the proper height. If the child wants to stand or sit in a more comfortable position, that is all right. The correct posture for working at a computer is one that provides comfort and circulation to the back, arms, legs, and neck.
Footrest: If the child's feet do not touch the floor when seated, use a footstool or footrest to prevent feet from dangling and cutting off the circulation in the legs. Use cushions, phone books, or boxes if a footrest is not available.
Mouse, Touch Pads
and Rollerballs: Most computer mice are built to fit adult
hands, not child-sized hands. Try to find a mouse that fits small
hands, and place it within easy reach of the child.
Keyboards: Child-sized or notebook keyboards are best for young children because the keys are small and close together. The keys should need only light pressure so that keyboarding does not tire their hands, and so that children don't pick up the bad habit of pounding keys to get them to work.
Internet Safety ConcernsThe best safety measure for children working on the computer is adult supervision and guidance. A young child's time spent at the computer should be relatively brief, and Internet use should be under the watch of an adult.
Because a personal computer is being used in a child care setting, consider these items to ensure Internet safety.
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