Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Launches Safe Swaddling Initiative to Reduce Hip Dysplasia in Infants

ATLANTA (Oct. 1, 2012) – New moms use swaddling, the practice of wrapping a baby in a blanket for warmth and comfort, to curb restlessness, promote longer sleep time and help develop motor-skill growth in their newborn. However, exercising improper swaddling technique can lead to hip dysplasia, according to the International Hip Dysplasia Institute.

Doctors at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta are encouraging parents and professionals to learn a more improved form of swaddling, which includes leaving room at the bottom of the blanket for the infant’s hips and legs to move freely. Wrapping a baby’s legs too tightly with the hips and knees extended can be detrimental to the hips, especially in the first three months of life.

“About 1 in every 20 babies has some form of looseness in their hips,” said Tim Schrader, MD, Medical Director of the Hip Program at Children’s. “Improper swaddling can make this worse.”

Dr. Schrader’s team of physicians, nurses and physical therapists launched a system-wide initiative to teach Children’s staff this improved form of swaddling. His team is also working with birthing hospitals and pediatricians around metro Atlanta to teach safe swaddling in hopes of reducing hip dysplasia in infants.

In order for swaddling to allow healthy hip development, the baby’s legs should be able to bend up and out at the hips. This position allows for natural development of the hip joints. Swaddling infants with the hips and knees in an extended position could potentially lead to hip dysplasia and dislocation.

For more information and to view a step-by-step instructional video, visit

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As the only freestanding pediatric healthcare system in Georgia, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta is the trusted leader in caring for kids. The not-for-profit organization’s mission is to make kids better today and healthier tomorrow through more than 60 pediatric specialties and programs, top healthcare professionals, and leading research and technology. Children’s is one of the largest pediatric clinical care providers in the country, managing more than one million patient visits annually at three hospitals, Marcus Autism Center, the Center for Advanced Pediatrics, urgent care centers and neighborhood locations. Consistently ranked among the top children’s hospitals by U.S. News & World Report, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta has impacted the lives of kids in Georgia, across the United States and around the world for more than 100 years thanks to generous support from the community.

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