Making sure your baby is a healthy hipster
While only 200 Queensland babies are born with hip deformities each year, one in six newborns have some hip instability and may be at risk of developmental dysplasia of the hip.
Often called clicky hips, hip dysplasia occurs when the ball at the top of the thighbone is not held firmly in the socket of the pelvis.
Co-Chair of the Child Health Subnetwork, Cathy Marron, said incorrect swaddling techniques could increase the risk of hip dysplasia.
“Safe swaddling, avoiding baby walkers and jumpers, and ensuring baby’s legs are bent at the knee when in a carrier or sling can reduce the risk of hip dysplasia,” she said.
Ms Marron said hip dysplasia was not always present at birth, so it was important children’s hips were regularly checked.
“The number of children diagnosed with hip dysplasia is rising. Unfortunately, late diagnosis can often mean lengthy treatment and even painful surgery,” she said.
“Signs of hip dysplasia include uneven thigh creases, crooked buttocks creases, different leg lengths, difficulty in spreading legs apart and clunking or clicking when moving the hips.”
According to Healthy Hips Australia, every child’s hips need checking at birth, one to four weeks, six to eight weeks, six to nine months, and 12 months.
Hips should continue to be checked at normal doctor visits until 3.5 years.
“Breech babies, females, first born, and a family history of hip dysplasia are all risk factors of hip dysplasia,” Ms Marron said.
The Child Health Subnetwork is an affiliate of the Queensland Child and Youth Clinical Network.