Medical Minute 10-4: The Risk of Swaddling

By: Vanessa Welch Email
By: Vanessa Welch Email

Haley Marchsteiner is a bubbly six year old. She laughs and plays games and when things don't go her way, she still tries to have fun even though she can't walk right now.

"I don't like sitting all the time."

Haley was diagnosed with hip dysplasia at 18 months. All because of something her mom Melissa did when she was a baby.

"I swaddled her tight trying to comfort her."

"Tight swaddling with the legs out straight can actually dislocate a baby's hips."

Doctor Charles Price says it's a big problem and with help from Larry the Cable Guy - he's spreading the word. Larry's son was diagnosed with hip dysplasia at just a few days old.

Studies show swaddling can reduce crying, and develop better sleep patterns in fussy babies - but when done wrong, it can do more harm than good.

"Unrecognized hip dysplasia is the most common cause of arthritis in young women," said Charles Price, M.D., Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeon Arnold Palmer Institute.

To avoid the problem, babies should be wrapped so the legs are able to bend up and out at the hips.

"When you swaddle put the blanket across top of the shoulder, she brought the arm down, this comes across and brings the arm down, she folds but there's plenty of room for the hips //:34 and then tuck that under and make a nice little bundle."

Fresh out of a cast, Haley's had two surgeries to correct her hips. Melissa hopes new parents can learn from her mistakes. As for Haley, she can't wait to get out of this chair and onto the playground.

"I wanna play a lot, because I haven't got to play a lot when I was in the cast," said Haley Marchsteiner.

For more information on other series produced by Ivanhoe Broadcast News contact John Cherry at (407) 691-1500,


WHAT IS HIP DYSPLASIA? Hip dysplasia is a condition that causes the hip joint not to develop correctly. Developmental dysplasia of the hip can happen at birth or can be developed as the child grows. In hip dysplasia, there may be looseness of the ligament that holds the ball in the socket, or there can be displacement in which the ball of the hip is out of the socket completely. If the hip socket is too shallow or loose, the thigh bone can slip in and out of the socket partially or completely. (SOURCE:

HIP DYSPLASIA IN INFANTS: Developmental dysplasia of the hip or DDH, affects one or two out of 1,000 infants. Often the condition corrects itself without medical intervention. The highest incidence of DDH occurs in first born babies (because the uterus is tighter than in later babies), breach babies and females (because ligaments are looser than males). Hip dysplasia is the most common hip problem in children and if left untreated, can lead to greater problems as adults such as osteoarthritis, a limp, or differences in leg length. (SOURCE:

SIGNS OF HIP DYSPLASIA: People with milder cases of hip dysplasia can go through childhood and adolescence without having any symptoms, but as adults they may develop pain and have to seek medical attention. Some signs of hip dysplasia can include:
• The leg on the side of the dislocated hip appearing to be shorter
• The folds in the skin of thigh or buttocks looking uneven
• Leg on the dislocated hip may turn outward
• Space between legs may look wider than normal

TREATMENT: Although hip dysplasia can be caused by a number of factors such as genetics and gender, there are treatment options to help those affected by this disorder. Depending on the severity of the hip dysplasia, doctors may choose to put the child under observation to determine if the hip is developing correctly. Other measures may be taken such as placing the infant in a Pavlik harness, which can be used on infants up to four months old, to wear for six weeks full-time and then another six weeks half-time. If the child is diagnosed after age two, they may have to have traction –the use of pulleys strings, weights and a metal frame attached over a bed, or casting. If treatments are unsuccessful, the child may have to undergo surgery to correct the dislocated hip. (SOURCE:

For More Information, Contact:

Charles Price, M.D.
The International Hip Dysplasia Institute

You must be logged in to post comments.

Password (case sensitive):
Remember Me:
WCTV 1801 Halstead Blvd. Tallahassee, FL 32309
Copyright © 2002-2016 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 131072268 -
Gray Television, Inc.