"Improper swaddle may damage baby's hips"

From the Globe and Mail yesterday: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/pare...article2158644/

Along with breastfeeding and bathing a newborn, one of the crucial skills new parents master is the art of the swaddle.

But while wrapping baby up like a burrito in a thin blanket is known to help many babies relax and sleep better, North American parents need to be reminded that swaddling incorrectly may seriously damage a babys developing hips.

In a newsletter distributed to members of the American Academy of Pediatrics, pediatricians are being urged to watch for signs of hip dysplasia and dislocation and to warn parents not to extend their babys frog-like legs straight. They should allow for room in the swaddle or sleep sack for baby to bend at the hips.

Theres a temptation to stretch [the legs] out and that needs to be resisted. They need to be able to straighten themselves out naturally and gradually, says Charles Price, a pediatric orthopedist at the Winnie and Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando, Fla., and one of the authors of the memo.

However, that message may not have been clearly understood by parents who swaddle their children, or by nurses who instruct parents at time of discharge following birth, he wrote in the memo.

Hip dysplasia affects about 1 per cent of North American newborns, according to recent figures.

The health concern is twofold. As more parents choose to swaddle, more babies with hip dysplasia or dislocation may have to undergo treatment which ranges from wearing a harness or brace to undergoing surgery. These conditions can get worse with age and are linked to early adult arthritis and hip-replacement surgery.

Undetected hip dysplasia is the most common cause of hip arthritis in young women, says Dr. Price, who is also the director of the International Hip Dysplasia Institute.

A growing body of research including research on Native American cradle board practices and traditional Turkish swaddling methods shows that damaging swaddling practices carry a bigger risk of hip dysplasia (at least 20 per cent) than other well-known risk factors, such as being in the breech position or a family history.

And its the one that parents can avoid. You can swaddle babies wrong and get away with it, but we know that it increases the risk.

 10 Sep 2011 9:14 AM
 29 Dec 2008
Raving Lunatic
I'm trying really hard to remember how we swaddled dd, honestly I've never put much thought into it...I can't remember if we pulled her legs or not...in the end swaddling was a total fail as she always broke out of them until we got the woombie which I think allows space I. The legs much mor then the arms...

Interesting for sure, just never anything I've put much thought into

 10 Sep 2011 9:56 AM
 16 Dec 2005
 Ottawa, ON
Very interesting, I never would have thought that swaddling their legs too tight could damage their hips. We mostly used the SwaddleMe swaddlers that keep their legs pretty loose so I guess it wouldn't have been an issue.. we used blankets on occasion though and I can't remember how tight it was around the legs. Good to know if we ever have another baby!

 10 Sep 2011 10:20 AM
 8 Jun 2011
WB Lurker
Interesting! We mostly used a Woombie when he was tiny, but def swaddled him up like a burrito, too. Good to know for next baby for sure.

Btw -- congrats on the new baby PeachyPie! Love the name! I have an Evan, too : )

 10 Sep 2011 10:34 AM
 13 Aug 2006
 Calgary, AB
We used the swaddle me bag with ODD and the woombie with YDD.. love those things:)

On a side note, this article makes me a little angry because it implies that all babies that are swaddled will have Hip Dysplasia and that undetected hip dysplasia is because of the improper swaddle. That I don't agree with.

While yes I do agree that putting baby in a tight cocoon CAN interfere with the hips development, The chances of a child GETTING hip dysplasia from it, is pretty minute. However it probably doesn't help those children who might already have HD and have not been properly diagnosed. So for me, this would be more of the doctor and the parents being proactive in making sure baby's hips are checked at each appointment, and not worrying about whether the swaddle is too tight.

 10 Sep 2011 10:39 AM
 30 Dec 2009
Very interesting! Thanks for sharing.
The nurses swaddled DS for the first 2 weeks of his life and then he was never swaddled again (besides for the restless nights he spent in the woombie)

 10 Sep 2011 11:19 AM
 9 Sep 2007
 Niagara Region
Very interesting thanks for sharing! We also use a kiddopotomus swaddle blanket and woombie in the later days which allowed DSs legs to do whatever they wanted, but I'm pretty sure at the hospital and when using receiving blankets their was probably no room for froggie legs since he was wrapped so tight.

 10 Sep 2011 10:11 PM
 30 Oct 2008
Very interesting! We used the Miracle Blanket for both and it fits loosly around the legs!
Thanks for sharing.

 11 Sep 2011 12:44 AM
 19 Apr 2008
 Regina, *home* is E-Town!
I always just swaddled DS' arms, and left the bottom flap wide open. I never liked the idea of restricting their legs, so we never did it.

 31 Oct 2012 11:59 PM
 30 Apr 2012
New Member

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