Tightly Swaddling Babies Could Cause Hip Problems

Swaddling Could Cause Hip Problems
10 April 2016

Doctors in Australia are cautioning against the dangers of swaddling babies due to the possibility of it causing hip problems, according to the Daily Mail and Australia's Telegraph.

The paper reports:

Although the method has been encouraged as a way of soothing babies and preventing sudden death syndrome, a Medical Journal of Australia study says that it could lead hinder the child's joint development and prevent those with 'clicky hips' from being diagnosed until they are older.

It's thought that the popularity of swaddling babies and using swaddling wraps might account for an increase in the number of babies with late-diagnosed DDH, sometimes called 'clicky hips'.

For healthy hip development, babies need to be able to kick their legs with their hips open in a frog-like position.

If you do swaddle your baby, experts advise ensuring that the legs are not tightly swaddled so that your child can still bend and kick their legs.

To understand more about Development Displasia of the Hip, check out the hip health charity STEPS.

If you have concerns about your baby's hips you can contact the charity's Helpline on 01925 750271 (Monday – Friday 8am to 5pm) or send them an email info@steps-charity.org.uk.

TOPICS:   Parenting Tips


  • Jayne T.

    Never swaddled my babies, thought it was cruel not allowing them to move their legs and arms.

  • Char C.

    My little girl hated being swaddled! Even being wrapped in a towel after the bath made her cross! She liked being free to move.

  • Jenni B.

    This isn't new! We were advised not to swaddle our daughter 5 years ago due to helping her hip development as she was at risk of needing a brace

  • Marie O.

    Never hurt my 3 :-)

  • Jarrod H.

    All of my children were diagnosed with DDH at birth. Maybe better early detection is needed?

  • Helen L.

    Notice the word 'tightly'. Not normal swaddling. I was tought to wrap shoulders and arms to stop them flailing around, nothing to do with legs and hips.

  • Lauren O.

    I swaddled all my children and they loved it - yes another way to try and make parents get on a guilt trip! X

  • Georgina S.

    My daughter even hates a coat on haha I have always thought it was cruel I just think of me being wrapped up makes me feel sick lol... X

  • Kirsty W.

    Swaddled both my two....another message to scare already confused first time mums :punch:

  • Jacqueline N.

    Never swaddle a newborn as they cannot regulate their own body temperature and would be at risk of over heating x

  • Cass C.

    My daughter loved being swaddled, only way she would sleep is swaddled cuddled in our arms :) it was never overly tight and often she would have her arms out. Guess she just liked the closeness :)

  • Rachel C.

    All my 3 loved being swaddled for the first 3 weeks. The tighter, the better! Only ever used light cottons blankets though.

  • Kiran B.

    I was in hospital for a few days after delivering and ALL the midwives swaddled my son...he couldn't sleep without being swaddled and would flinch in his sleep and wake. So long as it's not too tight and not layered up there's no harm - just be smart

  • Pippa B.

    Only ever swaddled their arms! Always left lots of room around their hips. My swaddle gro-bag is designed to let their legs move too :smiley:

  • Katie T.

    Ooh, I love a swaddle! You just have to be sensible and make sure they aren't, or don't get into, and odd positions. And anyway, I don't see every person over the age of 50 in agony with joint problems and every baby was tightly swaddled back then! Even the hippies did it in the 60's because it works!

  • Harriet R.

    How is swaddling cruel? It's replicating how a baby is in the womb. My daughter loved being swaddled and was an excellent sleeper thanks to swaddling!

  • Kelly-Marie S.

    The nurses on the cardiac high dependency unit swaddled my baby x

  • Kimberley H.

    *BREAKING NEWS* patenting advice has bad case of too many cooks....

    Seriously, if I'd have took merit in every single piece of 'advice' that popped up I'd have terrified myself into an early grave. Every other day there's a new study that tells us we've been doing it all wrong for the last 200,000 years!

    Bore off!

  • Chrizzy M.

    I think every child should be scanned at 6 weeks I have 2 with ddh

  • Laura G.

    I was never advised against swaddling and copied what midwives had shown me. I had never heard of DDH.. 3 years after his birth my son was diagnosed with DDH we don't know the cause. Only that it had gone undetected for a long time. He now has had 3 surgeries, 6 months in a spica and has to wear a shoe raise for the rest of his life to accompany his mobility problems (he can't walk around the block without leg and back pain.) Parents should be able to make their own decisions as long as they know the risks. I wish I had known and wasn't so naive to just go along with what I was shown in hospital. Things may have been different.

  • Kirsty M.

    Swaddled both my 2 kids and never had a problem my son wouldn't sleep unless he was swaddled. Just another scare for new mums. Won't be able to do anything to comfort your baby if u follow every bit of advice from text book midwifes and health visitors not to mention all the media that post bad things about parenting

  • Jo D.

    My son was swaddled for sleep until he was around 7mths - he hated his arms not being wrapped up while he slept, it was never tight around his legs though so no problems with his hips he just like the feeling of being cuddled

  • Natalie W.

    Swaddling is fine to replicate how they are In the womb BUT they are not newborn for long. There is a time to stop doing it and allow them to grow.

  • Tina R.

    It's a miracle any of us grown ups are still alive isn't it. What rubbish, unless I'm still awaiting the onset of hip problems in guessing being swaddled as a baby didn't do me any harm!

  • Kimberley K.

    I swaddled my 4 babies and they all loved it in those early days and each time there was different advice on it!

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