Minister for Children and Early Childhood Development Wendy Lovell today launched a new online video for parents about the risks of wrapping newborn babies too tightly.
"Recent research shows that when babies are wrapped or swaddled too tightly they are at a greater risk of developing developmental dysplasia of the hip," Ms Lovell said.
"Developmental dysplasia of the hip, or DDH, may require surgical correction and can lead to some very serious health conditions, including a limp or arthritis later in life.
"DDH is the fifth most commonly reported birth defect.
"While wrapping babies can help settle them, it is important parents wrap newborns carefully so their legs are not restricted in any way," Ms Lovell said.
The growing concern over the impact of wrapping newborn babies too tightly has resulted in the Victorian Government providing the Royal Children's Hospital with $34,000 to develop the new online video which shows parents safe wrapping techniques.
"This step-by-step animation is a quick, easy way parents can learn the best ways to wrap their babies so they don't hinder normal hip growth and development," Ms Lovell said
"I'd like to encourage every parent to watch this short video."
Chief of Paediatric Surgery and Director of Orthopaedics at the Royal Children's Hospital Associate Professor Leo Donnan led the project.
"For new parents, a baby with poor sleeping habits can be distressing. In recent years swaddling has been advocated as an effective way of settling a restless infant but, if not performed safely, can have the unforeseen consequence of affecting the development of the baby's hips, even to the point of dislocation," Associate Professor Donnan said.
As part of this work, the Victorian Government and the RCH also created an updated online training module for doctors, nurses and health professionals involved in screening babies for hip dysplasia.
The training module was released last year and recognised with a Victorian Public Healthcare Award and is now receiving global attention. It will soon be featured on the International Hip Dysplasia Institute website.
"I am delighted this important work, developed right here in Victoria by the extremely talented team at the RCH, is now not only going to help reduce the risk of DDH here in Australia but all over the world," Ms Lovell said.
The video for parents is now available online at: www.rch.org.au/safewrapping