‘Safe Swaddling’ Recommended to Prevent Hip Dysplasia

(HealthDay News) – Health providers need to provide correct advice about how to swaddle infants safely, to reduce the risk of hip dysplasia, according to an article published online Oct. 28 in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Nicholas M.P. Clarke, MBBS, from University Hospital Southampton in the United Kingdom, cites a growing body of evidence that, in addition to swaddling’s soothing effects on infants, it is linked to a heightened risk of developmental dysplasia of the hip.

Clarke notes that swaddling forces the hips into extension and adduction, and predisposes to dysplasia; several studies show correlations with dysplasia and dislocation. Consequently, some studies recommend that traditional swaddling be avoided to allow normal hip development. However, given the resurgence of swaddling in English-speaking countries, safe techniques are recommended. Safe swaddling should be promoted, using appropriate devices with a loose pouch or sack, that allow for plenty of hip movement and hip flexion and abduction. Legs should be able to bend up and out at the hips, and should not be tightly wrapped in extension and pressed together.

“It is now essential that midwives, neonatologists, and pediatricians provide the correct advice in relation to healthy swaddling practices,” Clarke writes.

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