Patient mom in clinic with her baby.

Nov 09, 2017 / Hip Disorders

Swaddling Tips to Avoid Hip Dysplasia

Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children is dedicated to providing quality patient education to our families. Learn more about the correct to way to swaddle a baby and the importance of doing so to avoid hip dysplasia. 

How is a baby swaddled?
A blanket is wrapped around the upper body of the baby to bring tightness/firmness so that the baby feels secure.

What is the right way to swaddle?
  • A parent/guardian should wrap the blanket around the upper part of the body while keeping the legs free to move and kick.  
  • If the legs are wrapped in a tight, straight position, it could create abnormal stresses and pressures to the hip.
What is the incorrect way to swaddle?
  • The baby’s legs should not be wrapped straight and tight with the blanket when being swaddled.  
  • If the legs are wrapped and put in a static position, the baby is unable to move his or her legs. The child will then try to fight against the swaddle causing the hip stress with abnormal forces which can encourage hip dysplasia.
  • In young babies, everything is very moldable, stretchable and soft. Keeping the legs free while in a swaddle allows the baby’s hips to develop normally.
What is developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH)?
DDH occurs when there is an inadequate coverage of the ball by the socket or there is a dislocation of the hip (the ball is completely outside the socket).

When can DDH develop?
  • It can occur before birth.
  • During birth.
  • After birth.
  • During early childhood.
What are the possible causes of development dysplasia of the hip?
  • The cause of DDH is unknown.
  • It could be genetic – children with a family history of the hip condition are more likely to have DDH than children whose family does not have a history of the disease.
  • Studies have shown that if a baby is swaddled incorrectly, it could lead to DDH.

Learn more about hip dysplasia.
If you have further questions regarding the correct way to swaddle your baby, contact us at askadoc@tsrh.org.

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