W Sitting: Should You Be Worried if Your Child Sits Like This?

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As a parent, you have probably seen your kid sit like this all the time. W sitting is the position your child makes when he sits on the floor with knees in front and legs on the side, thus creating a W shape. Is this position bad for your kid’s health? Should you correct it?

For many years, W sitting has been associated with harmful effects on your child’s development. In the 1960s to 1970s, orthopedists believed that sitting in this position may cause in-toeing, or having your toes point inward when you walk.

Why do children sit in the W position?

Your child will likely sit in the W position when he’s about 3 years old. He’s more likely to sit like this during playtime since the W sitting gives him wide base support while playing.

While it may look uncomfortable to adults, W sitting in children actually allows them for more internal hip rotation.

According to experts, W sitting occurs in most children. This position is common, and it’s actually a part of their development. They will eventually wear out this habit as they grow older.

Photo: Pixabay/Kaboompics

Is W sitting harmful for my child?

However, W sitting may also pose some problems. While it may be considered normal, it can become a concern when your child sits in this position frequently.

If you observe your child W sitting too often in an extended period of time, it may indicate that he has underlying issues with motor development.

Read also: 5 Reasons Why Your Toddler Doesn’t Need Baby Walker

Issues that may arise with this sitting position

Sitting in this position for an extended period of time may have some adverse effects on your child’s development. Here are some of the risks associated with this position that parents should look out for.

1. Hip dysplasia

If your child has hip dysplasia, you may have to discourage him from W sitting. According to research, sitting in this position for a prolonged period of time may increase your child’s risk for hip dislocation.

Even if your child is not officially diagnosed with hip dysplasia, look out for tell-tale signs such as pain in the hip area.

2. Orthopedic issues

W sitting may affect coordination, balance, and motor skills of your child. Sitting for too long in this position may create tight muscles in the legs and hips, which can affect your child’s gait.

If your child walks with his feet turned inwards, also known as in-toeing, you might want to discourage the W position.

3. Coordination issues

The W position also limits your child’s ability to rotate the upper part of his body. If this happens too often, your child might have difficulty reaching across his body.

Photo: Unsplash/Jelleke Vanooteghem

What should parents do about W sitting?

According to experts, this sitting position should not be the main concern for parents. But if you see your kid often sitting in this position, you might want to offer alternative positions, such as:

1. Criss-cross sitting (alternate which leg is on top)
2. Side-sitting (knees bent, with both feet downwards)
3. Long-sitting (sitting with legs in front of the body)
4. Kneeling
5. Squatting

As of now, more research is needed to find out the true link between this sitting position and motor and coordination issues in children.

Read also: Here’s Why Experts Don’t Recommend Belly Binders