Benefits of the spread-squat position for baby carrying

The following statement has been approved by the Executive Committee of the IHDI Medical Advisory Board for purposes of education and clarification.

“The International Hip Dysplasia Institute recommends that infants be carried with the lower extremities in the M-position, and similar spread-squat positions, to support healthy hip development during the first six months of infancy when the hips are growing rapidly. The International Hip Dysplasia Institute acknowledges carriers that support this recommendation. The spread-squat position is most likely to benefit hip development when babies are ‘worn’ for many hours each day as a practice of ‘attachment parenting’. Approximately one in ten newborn infants has mild hip instability and one in 100 may require treatment. Hip dysplasia is common and has many causes. This IHDI recommendation should be viewed as similar to recommendations for regular exercise, healthy diet, and proper sleep habits.  There is epidemiological evidence that carrying your baby in the hip-healthy position may decrease the risk of persistent hip dysplasia. However, there is no evidence suggesting that failure to carry in the hip-healthy position causes hip dysplasia in otherwise healthy infant hips. Infants carried for short periods of time, and especially those whose legs are free to move are unlikely to increase their risk of hip dysplasia compared to the general population. In contrast, the severity of hip dysplasia may be increased by wrapping the legs tightly in a straight position for many hours when swaddled during daytime and nighttime hours. The benefits of carrying infants in a Hip Healthy position should not be confused with the potential harm of traditional tightly-bound swaddling practices.”

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