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How Incorrect Swaddling Can Lead to Long-Term Health Problems

baby with brown swaddle blanket


Did you know that incorrect swaddling can cause permanent damage to your infant’s hips, potentially leading to hip dysplasia? The AAP recently updated hip dysplasia screening guidelines prompting pediatricians to encourage hip-healthy swaddling. Just like your tires wear unevenly if the tread is not right, hip dysplasia is a condition in which hip sockets and hip joints wear unevenly, leading to hip pain and mobility issues.

How? When in the womb, your infant’s legs are tucked in close to her body in a cozy fetal position. After birth, if your baby’s legs gradually straighten out little by little until your child’s first steps. If an infant’s legs are forcefully extended straight too early--perhaps from swaddling legs too tightly--it can adversely affect the development of your child’s hip.

How do you ensure a hip-healthy swaddle? Check your swaddling safety with the “froggy test.” Froggy position is when your child’s knees are spread farther apart than her feet. You could grab her feet with one hand and move her knees farther apart by pushing her feet up. Can your child’s legs be put into “froggy” position? If yes, you have a hip-healthy swaddle. If not, undo and re-swaddle--your child's hips will thank you!

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