Body measurements and the variability of sitting postures at preschool age as preconditions for an optimal adjustment of chairs and tables
Voigt, Andrea; Greil, Holle
Preschool age is a biological stage of intensive longitudinal growth with high plasticity of the growing body and of body postures. It is the period where children learn to persist in a sitting posture for a longer time and to use furniture like chairs or other body supporting systems. The growing body shows a special sensitivity for the manifestation of inappropriate postures. In this study the development of body measurements and sitting behaviour of preschool age children is investigated as a precondition for an optimal adjustment of seats and desks to the growing body. Accordingly to the instructions of Knußmann (1988) and Jürgens (1988) 6 body measurements were taken from 122 German children aged 3 to 7 years from Potsdam, Province Brandenburg. Additionally, every child was videotaped for 10 minutes while crayoning in a sitting position of its own choice using a chair and a desk. To analyse the tapes, the software Noldus Observer was used and examined, picture by picture, to define the different types of sitting postures as well as the duration of persistence in a posture and the number of changes of postures. The used chairs and desks were also measured. Furthermore, the data of the furniture guideline DIN ISO 5970 (DIN, 1981), which regulates the dimensions of furniture for sitting in educational institutions, were compared with the results of the body measurements and with the dimensions of the furniture used by the children.