If you see your child sitting in the W-position, you must immediately stop them as this sitting position has many negative effects on your child’s health.
When a child is sitting on his or her bottom with both knees bent and the legs turned away from their body, he or she is said to be in the W-position. His or her legs is in the letter “W” shape if you were to view the child from above their head. Their thighs or knees may be spread apart or touching together.
Many children prefer this position as it is considered comfortable and allows them to play with toys in an upright sitting position with minimal chances of falling over.
When a child sits in this position for an extended period of time, a number of problems may arise as it increases the risk of the child’s hip and leg muscles becoming short and tight. As a result, this can have detrimental effects on the development of their gross motor skills, balance and coordination. Moreover, this sitting position can raise a child’s risk for hip dislocation particularly for those suffering from hip dysplasia.
Such position may also affect a child’s ability to develop hand preference as well as perform table-top activities essential in school. It also prevents the child from developing strong trunk muscles.
How to Prevent W-Sitting
Ideally, it is best to prevent your child from developing this habit. For children who have already developed this sitting habit, parents can encourage them to shift to a different position by telling them, “fix your legs”.
Provide your child other sitting options such as “criss-cross”, “long sit”, and “side sit” to help them develop trunk control. You may also hold the child’s knees and feet together when kneeling or crawling to prevent them from W-sitting.
Lastly, you may consult an occupational therapist if the child is unable to sit alone in positions other than the W-position.