What is W- sitting?
W-sitting is a position where the child sits on their bottom by bending their knees and their legs are turned out of their body. When this position is viewed from up, their legs will be displayed in the shape of the letter W, in which their knees may be close together or away from each other.
This isn’t an encouraging position at all.
Children mostly prefer this position as they feel comfortable and/or to compensate for the weak hip and trunk muscles. Because of their weak muscles, they feel insecure to balance themselves and therefore W position will present them from falling.
When this position is prolonged for a long time, it may result in any of the below complications.
- Tightness in hip and leg muscles which affect their balance and coordination.
- Due to the tightness, their foot may appear as pigeon-toed leading to in-toeing walking patterns.
- There are chances of hip dislocation, especially for children who were previously diagnosed with hip dysplasia.
- Due to this position, there will be a restriction for the upper body to rotate. This will affect their ability to reach for objects and hinders their development.
- When the child plays in this position, the child may use only one hand, either left or right hand and operate things on the same side only, without crossing the midline. This will, in turn, affect their bilateral coordination skills, which is necessary to perform activities like buttoning, writing, etc.
- Also, this position does not allow to build strong trunk muscles. Usually, trunk muscles are strengthened especially at the time of maintaining an upright position, which prevents us from falling. But in the W position, the base of support is wide enough for the child to prevent from falling. This indeed weakens the trunk muscles even further due to very less or no usage.
- W-sitting will provide less or no opportunity for the child to shift weight from side to side.
How to avoid W-Sitting?
To avoid W-sitting, the following positions can be encouraged:
- Long leg sitting
- Cross leg sitting
- Butterfly sitting
- Squatting position
- Sitting on a children’s chair or stool
- Prone position
These positions allow the child to use both the hands and it allows them to cross the midline as well. It also helps in weight shifting.
Besides, their abdominal and back muscles are used extensively to maintain an upright position. This, in turn, strengthens their trunk muscles.
Along with the above-recommended positions
- Consistent verbal cues or manually correcting the child to get into any of the above-listed positions has to be done whenever you see the child sitting in the wrong position.
- Peanut ball can be provided to get rid of the W position and also to perform activities.
- Focus on the activities that strengthen the core muscles.
- Whenever possible prefer the floor table or low table to perform table-top activities, as this will prolong the duration of the good sitting.