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Standing frames

Why does my child need a standing frame?

Children learn to stand unsupported from 10 to 15 months old. If you child finds it difficult to stand then they may need some assistance to do so. Some children only need help standing for a short period of their lives, whereas others may need ongoing support as they grow through to adolescence and adulthood.

There are many advantages from standing at a young age.

What are the benefits to standing?

There are a number of benefits to standing frames.

Hip development

It is thought that standing can help develop the shape of the hip joint (which is a ball and socket joint) to be smooth and round.

Optimising bone development

Bone density is a measure of bone strength and strong bones are more resistant to fractures. Normal bone growth and development is reliant on good nutrition, weight bearing and the active muscle use.

To help muscles

Standing in a standing frame for a prolonged period can offer muscles around the hips, knees and ankles a prolonged stretch and help to maintain muscle length.

Breathing and speaking

Standing allows the diaphragm more room to expand and contract meaning we can breathe in and out more easily and effectively in standing. Being able to take a big breath in also makes it easier for us to make noises, vocalise and speak.


Standing helps with digestion and toileting through a combination of gravity and the activation of stomach muscles to aid bladder and bowel drainage.

Help them socially

Being at the same height as their peers optimises a child’s opportunities for eye to eye interaction, alertness and social interaction, as well as communication and educational opportunities. There have also been links made between regular standing and better sleep for children.

Skin integrity

Standing allows a change of position and helps to relieve pressure from bony prominences. Standing also improves circulation and affects blood pressure meaning that blood flows around the body better. Please check your child’s skin for any marking after they have used their standing frame. Any marks should go within 20 to 30 minutes. If they take longer to disappear please contact your child’s therapist.

What types of standing frames are there?

There are 3 main types of standing frames including:

Prone standers

Standers that tilt forwards.

Photograph of prone stander with a monkey illustration on the side

Supine standers

These are standers where the child is lifted onto their backs and then the stander is adjusted into a more upright position.

Photograph of supine stander on wheels

Upright stander

Standers that are bolt upright and are meant to replicate the natural standing posture as much as possible.

Photograph of upright stander with a table and bowl on front

How long should my child stand for?

It is advised for a child to use their standing frame for up to an hour each day. Initially using the stander for 5 to 10 minutes and gradually increasing as your child’s tolerance increases.

My child does not look right in their stander, what should I do?

If you think something does not look right, stop using the stander and contact your child’s therapist straight away.

How do I maintain my child’s stander?

Your child’s standing frame will have a maintenance check every year to make sure it is in good working order. Just with wear and tear and everyday use some knobs may loosen so it is worth checking regularly that knobs are tight.

What about safety?

If you child’s stander has brakes, always check they are on for transferring your child in and out of the stander.

Make sure all the straps are fastened as advised and shown by your child’s therapist. Your child should have a photo positioning sheet to show you what your child should look like to refer to at home or school.

Is something missing from this resource that you think should be included? Please let us know

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Please note: this is a generic information sheet relating to care at Sheffield Children’s NHS FT. These details may not reflect treatment at other hospitals. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professionals’ instructions. If this resource relates to medicines, please read it alongside the medicine manufacturer’s patient information leaflet. If this information has been translated into another language from English, efforts have been made to maintain accuracy, but there may still be some translation errors. If you are unsure about any of the guidance in this resource or have specific questions about how it relates to your child, always ask your healthcare professional for further advice.

Resource number: PT56

Resource Type: Article

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