L’il Fraser Supports Academic Studies into Healthy Hip Development
There has been much media coverage recently of a South Australian study https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2016/204/6/increase-late-diagnosed-developmental-dysplasia-hip-south-australia-risk-factorsThis generated headlines such as ‘ Doctors Warn Against Swaddling Babies’ in the media, attracting significant social media activity.
L’il Fraser supports healthy swaddling methods, and supports the authors of the study in their efforts to tell parents about healthy swaddling techniques. What the study actually says is: “ The incidence of late DDH has increased in SA despite an ongoing clinical screening program. Increased awareness, education, and avoidance of inappropriate lower limb swaddling are necessary to reverse this trend.”
We agree. The swaddling techniques L’il Fraser recommends follow the Karitane guidelines and do not restrict babies’ lower limbs. Using proper swaddling techniques, it is easy to both swaddle a baby for good settling and sleep AND leave the lower limbs free to move for proper hip health.
The study further states: “There is abundant epidemiological evidence for the negative effects on hip development of wrapping, swaddling or carrying susceptible babies with hips tightly adducted and extended, as well as confirmatory animal studies. There is growing concern among the orthopaedic fraternity in North America, the UK and Australia that a resurgence in the popularity of swaddling, including the increased use of “swaddling cocoons” (which force the lower limbs into extension), places children at risk of late diagnosed DDH.”
Again, we agree. This excerpt further explains what is meant by ‘inappropriate lower limb swaddling’. It is most important to avoid cocoon-style swaddling, just as it is important to avoid babywearing in positions that flatten and extend a baby’s hips.
It is worth noting that this study does NOT provide new information on the risks of inappropriate swaddling. It considers a number of risk factors for late developmental dysplasia (DDH) including mother’s ethnic background, which type of hospital the baby was born in, the type of delivery process, gender, gestation period, maternal age and whether the baby was first, second or third born. It did not consider whether or how the babies were swaddled when they were young – although that would be very interesting. The risks associated with inappropriate swaddling are covered in two studies cited as references, one from 2008 and one from 2014.
We at L’il Fraser are dedicated to spreading the message of healthy swaddling and hip development. We therefore welcome attention on this important issue from academics and health professionals.
L’il Fraser is the ONLY swaddle wrap endorsed by Karitane Australia, and it is also endorsed by recognised sleep expert Tizzie Hall. Please swaddle safely, with legs free to move as at https://www.lilfrasercollection.com.au/pages/learn-how-to-wrap-your-baby and seek advice if you're not sure.