Tight baby swaddling health alert

Doctor urges parents to consider how they are swaddling their babies, after rise in hip dysplasia linked to certain style of tight swaddling

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Professor Nicholas Clarke, a consultant orthopaedic surgeon, is warning parents that tight swaddling could lead to hip dysplasia, reports the Telegraph.

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Nicholas, who practices at Southampton General Hospital, said he’s seen a rising number of cases of hip dysplasia related to a certain style of tight swaddling.

Hip dysplasia is more often associated with genetics. However, tight swaddling that reduces movement and forcibly straightens a baby’s legs is causing Nicholas concern.

Treatment for hip dysplasia involves a baby wearing a harness that keeps the legs bent for six weeks. While this is successful for 85% of babies, others have permanent damage.

However, Nicholas isn’t keen to put parents off swaddling completely. “I advocate swaddling in the right and safe way, which means ensuring babies are not rigidly wrapped but have enough room to bend their legs – they don’t need to have their legs straightened as there is plenty of time to stretch before they start to walk,” said Nicholas. 

Nicholas’ comments come during Baby Hip Health Week, run by the charity STEPS, which is calling for parents and professionals to learn how to swaddle babies correctly in order to calm this emerging trend.

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