Healthy Hip Day is a great time to remind parents about the importance of swaddling new babies safely.
Hip dysplasia, otherwise known as developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH) or “clicky hips”, means an abnormal development of the ball and socket joint of the hip. Usually, the ball doesn’t sit deep enough into the socket and is at risk of dislocating.
In many cases, this is something that will happen in the womb. Certain babies are at a higher risk including females, breech babies, first born babies, those with a family history of hip dysplasia and larger babies.
Sydney Local Health District Physiotherapist in Paediatrics Kathy Kouretas says way babies are wrapped after birth can be a contributing factor too.
“Incorrect swaddling or wrapping techniques can cause hip dysplasia,” Kathy said.
“Babies need to have freedom of movement in their hip and knee joints. They need to have enough room to move their hips out freely and bend their knees.”
Swaddling a baby with the material too tight around the hips will increase the risk of hip dysplasia.
Some parents prefer to use a “sleep sack” or “swaddle bag”. These also need to be designed with enough room or stretch for babies to move their hips and knees.
When using a baby carrier, baby’s legs should turn out at the hips, with knees bent.
Babies have their hips checked at birth and then at regular intervals as they grow.
For babies under six months, hip dysplasia can be treated easily, using a harness to encourage the joint back into the correct position.
If you have concerns about your baby’s hip development, visit a child and family health nurse or see your GP.
Click on the link below to see a video demonstrating safe swaddling and baby carrying