Incorrect posture in children: Myth or reality?
Adopting incorrect postures is very common both in children and adults. We tell you everything about incorrect posture and if it gives rise to any consequences.
We are used to hearing “don’t sit like that, your back will ache” or “sit properly, or you will hurt your legs”, and we even tend to correct the posture of the littlest ones in the home so that it doesn’t cause harm to their motor skills development.
For many years, it was believed that the posture known as W-sitting adopted by many children, or similarly, knees folded back and leaning on the buttocks on the floor, was harmful to babies and small children. If we look at the child from above, we can see that this posture owes its name to how their legs form a W shape with their body.
It is very common for little ones to adopt this posture when they are playing on the floor as, from this position, they can reach their toys more easily, and everywhere else as, for example, they can transfer quickly into crawling position and it gives them balance. Although it looks like a very uncomfortable position to us adults, it is very comfortable for children, as they are much more flexible. This posture is produced by femoral anteversion which, in early years of life is greater: the femur rotates inwardly and allows them to sit like this.
Today, the problem of this posture has been demystified and specialists assure that there is no type of risk to health or for the psychomotor development of children who sit in the W position. Therefore, if children with normal motor development, and without any musculoskeletal disorders, adopt the W position at specific times it should not do them any harm, as a child’s normal activities, such as running or walking, will strengthen their muscles and their bones will grow normally.
The consequences of adopting bad posture
There are no bad postures. There are only prolonged periods of time in a single posture that may affect us over the long term. Hence the importance of having good posture hygiene and of doing moderate and healthy exercise to strengthen the muscles and bones.
But there are also other myths that should be ruled out, particularly those referring to children, such as:
-The weight of a backpack does not cause curvature of the back. But beware, as there are some details to take into account, as it can cause backache if it is overloaded. The ideal is that the weight of the backpack does not exceed 10% or 15% of the child’s weight. We recommend that the underarm straps are wide, that contact with the back is cushioned and that there are compartments in which to distribute the weight of its contents, as well as having a fastening around the waist.
-Playing videogames is also not a cause of any musculoskeletal injury. In general, children sit in the “Indian” posture, with flexed neck and the trunk leaning forward. This posture is not harmful in itself, nor does it cause imbalance to the spinal axis. However, if the position is held for many hours, it could result in muscles, joints and even discal overload and with this, pain.