Swaddling Babies Incorrectly Can Harm Their Development

Swaddling babies by wrapping them in a thin blanket is a common and ancient practice known to soothe infants and help them sleep better. But now there is concern that if swaddling is done incorrectly, the practice can lead to hip dysplasia. About 1% of North American newborns suffer from hip dysplasia, a condition that can lead to surgery or treatments such as wearing a harness or brace.

The American Academy of Pediatrics is encouraging doctors to watch for signs of hip dysplasia and dislocation in newborns, and to remind parents to not extend a baby’s legs completely straight. There should be room in the swaddle for babies to bend at the hips, and to be able to straighten themselves out naturally and gradually. The hope is that as parents and health care providers become more informed and aware of proper swaddling practices, cases of hip dysplasia will be reduced.

Source: Pearce, T. Globe & Mail

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