I’m always impressed with the articles on Ergoweb. I was especially happy to see the reference to the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) in the backpack article Ergonomics Regulations Proposed to Address Children’s Heavy Backpacks, June 7, 2002. As a certified occupational therapist, it is always good to recognize fields of practice and research. Many people don’t even know what occupational therapy is all about. Thank you for including the excerpt from the AOTA to bring awareness to the occupational therapists working in the field of ergonomics and the public!
T. Troy OTR/L
The motive to help children develop as correctly as possible is applaudable, however, making this mandatory by LAW is a tad extreme. Perhaps public service announcements (billboards, TV, radio) would help raise awareness or be a good first step. It seems to fall under the same category as vaccinating children, or encouraging women to take more Ca+ and folic acid.
Having just returned from vacation, I appreciated Peter Budnick’s story on airline ergonomics Commentary: Airline Seating — One Size Does Not Fit All, June 24, 2002. Our trip consisted of two-legs of airplane travel each way and, once again, I was reminded of how miserable airline travel can be for all travelers. Seat sizes and leg space is not just a problem for the large traveler. Having a large or tall passenger sit beside me often causes as many problems for me as it does for them, but there’s even more to my story. I am only 5’3″ tall, 135 lbs.
(1) The seat headrests often hit me at the top of my head and force my head forward causing neck aches. This could be easily alleviated by the use of adjustable headrests similar to those on the front seats of automobiles.
(2) My legs are too short to sit in the seat properly and still be able to put my feet flat on the floor. By the I arrive at a destination, my legs and back are hurting. This too could be simply fixed with the use of adjustable footrest bars (similar to those on Greyhound or tour buses) on the seat in front of the passenger. This would still allow a passenger to store their carry-ons under the seat in front of them.
(3) There should also be a standard for the amount of leg room required in all planes. On our Delta flight from Atlanta to Phoenix, there was barely room to move your legs even if you are as short as I am (six seats total on each row). On the plane from Atlanta to Knoxville, we had twice as much leg room on the other Delta flight (five seats total on each row).