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What is W-Sitting?


What is W-Sitting?

According to Pathways, "W-sitting is when a child sits on their bottom with their knees bent and feet positioned outside of their hips. If you’re standing above your child, you will see their legs and body make the shape of a W.


Is W-sitting bad?

Often children move in and out of a W-sitting position while they’re playing. It is okay for a child to move into a W-position sometimes, as long as children don’t remain seated like this for very long or use it as their regular sitting position. There are risks with W-sitting for long periods of time or W-sitting so often that it’s a child’s go-to sitting position."


Steps to correct W-sitting with your little one:

  • Remind your child to “fix their legs” whenever you see them sit in a W-position.

  • Offer your child a small chair or stool as an alternative to sitting on the floor.

  • You can discourage w-sitting by showing them other ways to sit. Encourage your child to try sitting criss-cross, legs in front, or legs to the side.

What are risks associated with W-sitting?

Pathways reports that a child that sits in a W-position for a prolonged period of time may be at risk for the following:

  • Hip dislocation: Sitting in a W-position puts more strain on the hips and joints and can increase the risk of hip dislocation in those children who have hip problems.

  • Limited trunk/core strength: The wide stance of sitting in a W provides an easier position to sit upright. While in this position, the core-muscles are not engaged; therefore, further assistance may be necessary to develop adequate core-strength to support daily activities.

  • Lack of ability to complete cross body movements: The W-position makes it difficult for children to rotate their hips and upper bodies to reach for things across the body.

  • No hand preference: While in a W-position the child has too much trunk support, allowing either hand to be able to perform tasks. Developing a hand preference is important for writing.

  • Increased muscle tightness: Children may experience higher rates of tightness in the hips, knees, and ankles


Does your child W-sit?

Here are some tips Pathways suggests to help stop W-sitting:

  • Remind your child to "fix their legs" and put them in front of their body.

  • Offer a small stool or chair as an alternative to sitting on the floor.

  • Show them alternative ways to sit.


If your child W-sits and you are concerned with the risks associated with W-sitting please reach out to schedule an Occupational or Physical Therapy evaluation.







Resources

Pathways.org. (2020, November 3). What is W-sitting and why does it matter?: Pathways .org. Pathways.org. Retrieved from https://pathways.org/watch/parents-guide-to-what-is-w-sitting-and-why-it-matters/


What is W-sitting & how to prevent it?: Child development. Pathways.org. (2022, May 24). Retrieved from https://pathways.org/what-is-w-sitting/

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