“W-sitting” is a common sitting position used by children. They sit on their bottoms with their knees bent and their legs splayed out, in a shape that looks like a “W”. Children often sit like this when they’re playing on the floor, but it turns out prolonged sitting in this position could be harmful to the body.
“Not only is this bad for our hips, knees and ankles, but it also delays our postural muscles and gaining that core stability that we need, especially when we grow up to do weight lifting or any kind of sport,” says Dr. Claudia Chaloner in the video below.
W-sitting puts a higher amount of stress on the hips, knees and ankles, which can cause orthopedic and muscular problems if children sit in the position for too long.
It can also affect the development of motor skills, balance and coordination because of the way it alters the posture and the muscles and bones as a child grows. It should be noted that sitting in the “W” position now and then will not pose a risk, and not all “W” sitters go on to develop severe problems, but it does elevate risk if a child consistently sits this way.
That’s why many physiotherapists strongly recommend parents encourage their children to sit other ways on the floor. Side sitting, long sitting (with their legs out in front), sitting cross legged or sitting on a low stool or chair are all preferable over the “W”.
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