Safe swaddling decreases risk of hip dysplasia in babies

Learning to swaddle a baby is a rite of passage for new parents. Safely and securely wrapping a baby is an age-old technique for settling and comforting newborns – creating a cosy, warm and somewhat restricted environment, much like the womb. But there are concerns from medical experts that wrapping a baby too tightly, particularly around the hip and leg area, may cause health issues. An increasing incidence of hip dysplasia, has prompted a campaign to re-educate parents on the best way to promote hip-healthy swaddling.

Neonatal paediatrician Dr Howard Chilton says there appear to be an increasing number of infants presenting with developmental dysplasia of the hip “in the latter half of their first year and later”. Dr Chilton, who is based at Prince of Wales Private Hospital, and Sydney’s Royal Hospital for Women, explains the age of these infants suggests, “that this is happening from tight sleeping bags where the baby’s legs are extended out and wrapped firmly over these months.”

He explains “swaddling is OK so long as the hips are flexed; and babies prefer that flexed posture too – as it reminds them of their position in the womb.”

The International Hip Dysplasia Institute has outlined key ways that parents can ensure hip-healthy swaddling for their baby:

  • To make sure there is room for healthy hip development, your baby’s legs should still be able to bend up and out at the hips.
  • Don’t wrap your baby’s legs so tightly that they are pointed straight down and placed together.
  • A swaddled baby should always be placed on their back.
  • The IHDI has deemed the Ergobaby Swaddlerhip-healthy product, as it encourages healthy hip development.

Dr Chilton has also thrown his support behind the Ergobaby Swaddler (pictured throughout this article), explaining that it “holds the baby securely and comfortably in the ideal position for sleep and for hip development. I recommend it wholeheartedly. The arms are held snugly across the chest and the legs are encouraged into a flexed and abducted position, but are free to move. And most of the babies I have seen in the Ergobaby Swaddler are asleep. That says it all!”

The Ergobaby Swaddler is also the only swaddler that has a Healthy Hip Positioner, which keeps baby’s hips in the frog-leg position recommended by the IHDI.

More information on healthy hip-position when swaddling babies can be found at the International Hip Dysplasia Institute.

(This is a sponsored post for Ergobaby)

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