Ergonomic accessories can help you position your notebook computer effectively.


Take advantage of these ergonomic tips on setting up and using your laptop computer.  Laptop computers are a much greater challenge than a regular desk mounted computer monitor and keyboard when it comes to creating a correct ergonomic work environment. If you are an occasional laptop user or some one who only uses it for an hour or so a day, maintaining an ergonomic station will be less of an issue. For frequent or full time users, however, it is important to set your equipment up on one of the height adjustable laptop computer stands at the right height and angle. Correct computer user posture also helps avoid health problems frequently associated with computer use.

Placing your notebook computer on a adjustable ergonomic laptop computer stand is as important as to learn how to work on it. Laptops or notebooks are totally un-ergonomic because the basic ergonomic ability of a computer - the separation of keyboard and screen to their comfortable, independent position - is not present. You cannot have both the screen and the keyboard of laptops in a totally satisfying position, because they are connected. That's why it is important to consider purchasing ergonomic accessories that allow you to mount your laptop correctly. One very useful solution is to use a separate full-sized keyboard, rather than your laptop keyboard, and place it on an adjustable, negative tilt keyboard tray mounted beneath your desk surface. (Using a separate keyboard also elongates the life of the more sensitive laptop keyboard keys). Or you can position your notebook on ergonomic accessories such as a height and tilt adjustable laptop computer stand or laptop drawer . There are also articulating notebook computer arms that can be mounted on poles, desks, or walls as well as small laptop desks designed for short-term use.

Tips for how to use a laptop safely:

1. Learn how to maintain a relaxed, neutral posture that reduces stress and strain to your muscles by:

  • Schedule mini-breaks every 20 to 30 minutes to avoid repetition and static postures.

  • Maintain a comfortable viewing distance from your notebook computer's screen - approximately 18" to 30".

  • Keep you head and neck in a relaxed, neutral posture; avoid excessive neck flexion or rotation.

  • Position the keyboard at a relaxed elbow height and keep you wrists straight while keying.

  • Experiment with table and chair height as well as keyboard angle to maintain neutral wrist postures.

  • If you have to raise your chair so that your legs are pulled downward, use a footrest to support your feet. When seated  your hips should be slightly higher than your knees. When your legs are weighted downwards, there is excessive strain on hip, leg, and low back muscles.

  • Add an external keyboard and place it on an adjustable keyboard/mouse platform.

  • Attach an external mouse instead of using the small constricted touchpad or trackball on your laptop.

  • Tilt the computer's screen so that it is perpendicular to your line of sight, if lighting permits.

  • Keep glare off the computer screen by moving the screen, changing the lighting and/or covering the windows.

  • If you are sitting in a side chair or couch, use a pillow to support your arms while keying.

  • Clean the screen regularly using appropriate cleaning fluid for a laptop's LCD screen. Take care because pressure or poking may easily damage screen pixels.

  • Your hands and wrists should be kept in a straight wrist posture when typing and should not be resting on a palm rest, table or lap while typing.

  • Use the wrist rest for support during keying breaks and rest the ball of your hand, not the underside of your wrist, on the wrist pad.

  • Do not place your notebook directly on your leg's lap as the computer's excessive heat has been proven to cause internal physical harm to people who use it in that manner over time, rather choose to place it on one of the many adjustable laptop computer stands.

2. Carrying your notebook computer ergonomically is another aspect of learning how to use a laptop:

  • Remove unneeded baggage from cases holding notebook computers. The less weight the better.

  • Carry laptop computers in a case with padded shoulder straps and a handle. Frequently shift shoulders to balance the load on your muscles.

  • Use a wheeled notebook luggage cart that easily transports your laptop and laptop accessories (such as laptop printer, laptop cables, paper and other required items).

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