Why is “W-sitting” bad for your child?

he W-sitting Challenge
Many families are not aware of why W-sitting is not recommended and how sitting in this position can impact their child’s development.
“W-sitting” is when a child sits with their bottom on the floor and their feet splayed to the sides making a “W” shape when their legs are bent.
It results in the following issues:
  • Poor posture
    • Child tends to lean forward with their back rounded and pelvis tilting backward
    • Results in weak core muscles of the trunk requiring a wider base of support in sitting and standing.
  • Poor activation of trunk muscles resulting in deficits in balance
    • Negatively impacts child’s ability to shift weight from one side of the body to the other
    • Critical for developing balance for walking, running, and stair-climbing
  • Inhibits movement and environmental exploration between positions
  • Limits movement reaching to opposite side of the body with play only in front of the child 
  • May lead to hamstring tightness and twisting in leg bones with potential hip dislocation
    • Increased hip internal rotation
    • Limited external rotation impacts ability to sit cross-legged
  • Stress to knees and ankles resulting in incorrect foot placement for walking

How to prevent W-sitting

  • Increase your child’s awareness of the difference between W-sitting and sitting cross-legged
    • Criss-cross apple sauce
    • Feet in front
    • Fix your legs
If this activity continues, contact your pediatrician for referral to pediatric physical therapy.