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Adult Seating


kristina
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Hi

I have a member of staff who is complaining that the pre-school seats are too low and that she is finding it hard to get up when she has been seated at an activity.

Although I appreicate the seats are low if we introduce adult height seats for the adults they will be unable to sit at the activity as the seats wouldn't fit under the tables. Also adults would no longer be at child height.

What do you all sit on?

I'm trying to be considerate to the member of staff but she is the only one that has complained and excess weight may also be playing a part (obviously I'm not going to suggest that!!).

It's not the width apprently just the height.

 

Kris

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I'm afraid I agree with your colleague - as well as caring for children's health needs, we also need to ensure the needs of staff are supported.

 

I once attended a manual handling session and the physio there said that many early years practitioners suffer from back problems. In order to help, she suggested that as well as ensuring that we pick things/children up by bending from the knees, lifting heavy items like tables in pairs etc., she also said that it was very important that when sitting down (with your feet on the floor) that your hips and knees are relatively level, and that knees are not higher than hips, which is exactly what happens if the chair is child sized!

 

Not caring for our backs may ultimately mean more time off work. Food for thought .

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We have chairs that are adult-sized but child height. So in other words they are the same height as the children's chairs but the seat and back are the same size as an adult chair. They are really comfortable.

Beehive

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We used to use those and we called them 'big bottom chairs'!

 

If your member of staff is fairly large she may well be finding it difficult to get up, especially if she is stiff from sitting in one position for a while, something we older ladies can suffer from. It could be that she risks injuring herself in the process of standing up, and I think you will need to find her something more suitable in height and see how she manages then.

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Hi,

 

I agree we have to care for for staff aswell as children. In an early ofsted inspection it was pointed out to us that we did not have suitable seating for adults! A lot of staff including myself still use the children's chairs, (I suffer with back problems and weight is not an issue!) however i know that the option to use an 'adult' chair is there as do all other staff. By providing seating for adults you are protecting yourself, your staff and ticking a box for ofsted.

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All of my staff complained that their knees, backs hurt and directly atributed this to the low chairs! So I purchased 5 adult sized ones that dot around the room. I still insist that they sit on mats on the floor with children when sitting in small groups for registration/story time.

 

Debster

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When I was pregnant I took in one of those big ball things and found it really useful as it could be rolled to where I wanted it plus the kids could get it for me. I haven't used one whilst not being pregnant but i suppose it is a thought.....might even get one and try it?

 

Cx

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There is also an issue with using the adult height chairs at a child sized table.. this causes a different issue with the back as you are constantly leaning over and down to reach the table and items on it..

 

some of the chairs for adults are at a lower height but not so low as the children's which reduces the issues., but does not eliminate them totally.. only way to do that would be for adult sizes which is not good fro the children or environment.

 

we had a several children chairs but at a slightly higher height for the adults to use.. it helped.. I was lucky to have a couple of wooden ones made specifically for the purpose so adults could use them easily and be as a suitable height for the tables as well..

 

and I did find that by stopping the constant use of low chairs and tables caused me as many issues as I was so used to them.. I had become adjusted to them and once I no longer used them stiffened up and had more problems than when I did use them!

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Wow its been a long time since I posted. I totally agree that staff members should be looked after. I also think we should be on the child's level when interacting. Sitting on adult chairs would not allow this and as said before leaning forward would cause other problems. Maybe one solution could be for the member of staff not to stay at an activity for a long period of time.

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Feedback from a first aid course of all things suggested that we should look after the adults as well. We bought some adult chairs which we use for staff meetings and also sitting for lunch with the children, applying suncream that sort of thing. Other than that I think it would be difficult to use them, we don't sit still for very long. This same first aid course trainer also seriously suggested we use knee pads - now that I think is more realistic as I spend a lot of time on my knees, perhaps we should have the trousers with knee pads in them. BTW I also keep wearing holes in the toes of my shoes from kneeling down.

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When we did a manual handling course, the trainer said that Crocs do knee pads which protect the knees (but not the toes of shoes!) when kneeling down, but I haven't been able to find any online. If anyone knows where you can get them, I'd love to know!

Beehive

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I find that children often choose to stand at my dining table to engage in activities. There is a small table available most of the time of course.

 

Sometimes they find it easier to concentrate when standing and it's easier to move round and reach different bits and pieces on the table. When they choose to do this it works well for me because I can sit on an adult sized chair.

 

I think some children find sitting nicely on a chair detracts from their ability to concentrate because they have to then manage how they are sitting, obey rules about not tipping the chair, kick the table leg, etc. Standing means they are getting better proprioceptive feedback which helps prevent wriggling and it helps to keep their feet on the floor.

 

Could you offer one activity on a higher table each day and allow this member of staff to support it seated on an adult sized chair while the children are given the opportunity to stand?

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When we did a manual handling course, the trainer said that Crocs do knee pads which protect the knees (but not the toes of shoes!) when kneeling down, but I haven't been able to find any online. If anyone knows where you can get them, I'd love to know!

Beehive

 

If you look a 'workwear' websites - you find trousers (combat style) that have knee pockets which can slip very lightweigh knee protectors into.

 

xx

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This is an interesting topic. We have adult chairs in the office which doubles up as staff room. In the main playroom we have children's chairs in two slightly different heights. We don't sit still for long so the creaking to get up again isnt often an issue! I had a member of staff who was very overweight and she did sit on the children's chairs but not on the floor with them. Part of the job involves sitting on the floor at times so I felt this was an issue. When she started she could sit on the floor but she got larger and older and inevitably her knees complained.

 

I was very concerned by the time she left about the furniture not being suitable - one of the office chairs broke and I wonder if this was not strong enough. when I bought a new one I noticed it had a stated weight limit and this was lower than what this person's weight had been a year earlier and she seemed to have put on weight since then. No idea what the limit is on childreb's chairs!

 

I planned to address this (uncomfortable but necessary from an h and s point of view) as part of her return to work after breaking her ankle. I told her my plans and she resigned soon after so it didn't arise.

 

Difficult to strike a balance between requirements of the job (working at children's level etc) and meeting staff's health needs. This is a particularly tricky in a small business. I am always encouraging staff to be healthy, eat well and exercise adequately (partly as it's linked to a quality assurance scheme we are doing but it's something I feel is very important).

 

Staff should be cared for appropriately by employers and they should also take responsibility whereever possible for being /becoming healthy.

 

I've gone off on a bit of a ranty tangent - sorry - pet topic of mine...

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Community Playthings sell wooden adult-size chairs with short legs. Our HSE officer advised us to buy one for each member of staff. They are the same height as children's chairs but are very sturdy with an adult size seat, proper support for the back and are light and easy to carry around. They are just the right height to work next to a child at the child-sized table. They are expensive at £100 per chair, but well worth the investment to ensure your staff stay fit and healthy!

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