It's all about Healthy Hips

It's all about Healthy Hips


Source: Charles T. Price, MD, FAAP, Director International Hip Dysplasia Institute.

Adelaide Women’s and Children’s Hospital staff specialist orthopaedic surgeon Bruce Foster said there had been an increase in late-diagnosed hip dysplasia across Australia. “One of the feelings have been, that it’s because it’s become popular to swaddle babies,” he said. “We are promoting that swaddling is OK, but it must be done in a healthy hip position.”

Occupational Therapist Sarah Twomey is an International Advisor to the International Hip Dysplasia Institute and Founder of Healthy Hips Australia.  She explains that there are many benefits to swaddling during the first months of life, but wrapping babies too tightly could be doing more harm than good.

“It provides security and comfort and aides in settling and establishing sleep patterns. However, research indicates swaddling can increase the risk for developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH). DDH is a common childhood condition where the hip joint does not fit in the ‘normal’ position due to abnormal development and/or lack of growth of the joint’s ball and socket.”

Twomey was impressed with the Merino Kids Cocooi Babywrap design as it is in-keeping with her healthy hips tips, especially due to its patented design allowing for a more snug fit at the top of the wrap, but a looser fit at the bottom allowing for more movement from the hips.

 “When swaddling your baby, you should allow room around the hips for movement.  The legs should be free to move into the natural frog position.”

Healthy Hips Week – Key Information

  • Healthy Hips Week is Australia's first week dedicated to raising awareness about hip dysplasia, the importance of knowing the risk factors and what to look out for, as well as raising much-needed funds for the work of Healthy Hips Australia, at the same time
  • DDH (Developmental Hip Dysplasia) affects girls more than boys
  • 1 in 6 full-term newborns has some hip instability at birth
  • DDH is the most common cause of hip arthritis in adults
  • Incorrect swaddling technique can increase the risk of hip dysplasia
  • Safe swaddling guidelines recommend that the legs be free to move into their natural frog-legged position
  • Hip dysplasia isn’t always present at birth
  • Early diagnosis optimises healthy hip development
  • The condition is when the ball and socket of the hip do not fit together in a normal position

Signs & Symptoms:

  • Clunk or click when moving hip
  • Uneven thigh creases
  • Crooked buttock crease
  • Legs difficult to spread apart
  • Weight off to one side when sitting
  • Different leg length
  • Avoiding weight bearing
  • Walking on tiptoes on one side
  • Limping when walking

Preventative Strategies:


  • Natural leg position. Legs bent at the knee and turned out at the hip (Froggie position).


  • Tight swaddling. Legs should be free to move.
  • Baby seats, car seats, carriers, and slings that bring legs together at the knees. Allow the legs to hang, or position them stretched out straight and together.

The International Hip Dysplasia Institute (IHDI) acknowledges the Cocooi Merino Baby Swaddle and Go Go Bag (Sleep Bag) as a "hip-healthy" product.

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