Safe Swaddling of Infants

Help Babies' Hips Grow Strong and Healthy

Swaddling is the practice of wrapping a baby in a blanket or cloth for warmth and comfort. It can curb crying and promote sleep in infants because it mimics the security of the womb. If done correctly, swaddling can promote:

  • Better motor-skill growth
  • Improved sleep patterns
  • Less restlessness
  • Longer sleep

Incorrect swaddling can lead to developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH). The Children's orthopaedic hip experts can help make sure your baby's hips grow strong and healthy.

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When swaddling, a caregiver should make enough room in the blanket for the baby's legs to bend up and out at the hips. This allows the hips to grow. It also helps to provide enough space to allow the baby's knees to bend slightly.

 
     
 
BytheNumbers
    • About three out of every 1,000 babies with hip instability will need treatment.
    • At birth, about 17 percent of infant hips have some form of dysplasia or immaturity.

    - American Academy of Pediatrics

 
     

Swaddling How-to Guide (PDF)

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Swaddling Tips

A caregiver should not wrap the baby’s legs straight and pressed together. The newborn’s hip joints are not strong enough to hold an extended position.

There is no set age at which to stop swaddling your baby. It can be done for several weeks or several months. When the baby starts breaking free of the blanket, it is likely time to stop swaddling.

Additional Resources

The Children’s Hip program

International Hip Dysplasia Institute

American Academy of Pediatrics