Have you ever realized sitting can harm your baby? Often babies sit in odd postures while playing, once they learn to sit. And we ignore them little realizing the negative effects of such postures. What seems to be a normal way of sitting can have detrimental effects on your child. This is not to scare you but yes, you need to know how not to make your baby sit.
The most common W sitting position of babies (legs folded backwards from the knees forming a ‘w’ shape when looked from the front, as shown below) can have drastic effects (1) on your child’s development at a later stage.
The W position is common among children, and is considered normal when children are below two years. However, if this posture becomes a habit continuing beyond two years, it can influence the development of the child.
According to the Pediatric Therapy Center in the US, children who continue to sit in the W position beyond their second year may fail to develop the strength and balance required for motor skills such as running and jumping.
Besides, if you let your child continue sitting in this position, he can develop “pigeon toes” (2). It’s a condition in which kids walk with feet turned inwards, either one or both the feet. So, let’s understand how W-sitting causes more harm than you thought.
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The W-sitting posture expands the kid’s support base and that prevents him from developing the core strength that is strong stomach muscles. It also hinders the child’s ability to balance, thereby preventing the development of motor skills such as running and jumping.
Children are pretty comfortable in the ‘W’ posture, as they don’t have to put in effort to hold their trunks upright. In the process, the lower limbs are spread out on a broader support base, resting the entire weight on the joints instead of the muscles to hold them while they play. This impedes the core strength and stops the rotation of the trunk. This also leads to stiffness in the leg muscles, ankles, and hips. There is also a possibility of hip dislocation. Kids trip and lose their balance due to pigeon toes.
This position has the possibility of hindering righting reactions (3) that is the response of the body in maintaining the right orientation of head and body vertically. It can also cause the kids to have a hard time sitting on a chair without the support of their hands. This hinders the child from doing age-appropriate activities and using two hands for playing with toys.
How to prevent the W-sitting posture?
- The best way to prevent is to not let it form a habit. The moment you see your baby taking that posture, correct him, and ask him to change his sitting posture either by sitting sideways or long sitting with legs in front. If you see that your child is having difficulty sitting in that position, then let him rest his back while sitting.
- Tie a band or belt around your child’s ankles while he is playing on the floor so that it makes it difficult for him to take the W-sitting posture.
- Reinforce the habit of sitting in a chair with his hips and knees bent at 90 degrees. If it’s a bigger chair, place a smaller stool beneath his feet to get the right posture. You can help build his core strength this way.
So, before W-sitting becomes a habit for your child, make sure you unlearn the habit in him and be consistent at it. And ensure everyone, including your spouse, babysitter or the caretaker at daycare, is on the same page.
Do you have something to share about the right or wrong sitting postures for children? Leave your comments below.