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Hip Dysplasia: Why we should burn forward facing baby carriers

I was sitting on the London underground today when I saw something that made me beam and hiccup a sob simultaneously.

It was a stranger, a man, he was carrying his baby in a sling.  The child was adorned in a beautiful bonnet and she was beaming at her father.  Her eyes were staring at his, and her lovely chubby baby legs were spread around his waist in a gorgeous frog like position.

Whether he knew it or not, that Dad was helping to ensure healthy hip growth for his child.

We had two slings for BB, one that sat her in a similar position and one that was front facing and left her legs dangling, useless, pulling her hips down, creating a pressure on those fragile joints.

I have had three children and was never advised of the dangers of carrying your baby outwards.  It took a diagnosis of hip dysplasia, a six hour operation including bone grafts, a blood transfusion, and twelve weeks in a half body cast for me to learn an incredibly hard lesson.

Preventing Hip Dysplasia - a personal post from Northern Mum

If only I had known then what I know now

Some kids are born with dislocated hips.  Others have loose hip joints that are not always looked for in the right way or diagnosed until much later when the surgery is more invasive and the recovery so much slower.

We will never know whether BB was born with dysplasia, or whether it developed through her first few weeks and months.  We do feel let down by our health visitors, GP and pediatrician.

She and many more spica babies that I have met since were all missed by the medical system.

She was diagnosed so late in her little life that the road to recovery has been long, painful and intensely frustrating.

We were signed off from physio last week.  The official diagnosis being that BB’s leg is as good as it is going to get. My daughter walks with a faint limp that turns into a drag when she is tired.  She is three and a half and needs a buggy for most trips out. Other parents raise a quizzical eyebrow when they see her climb into her chariot after walking a few steps. She cannot extend her left hip or extend the joint to the side.

She is not fixed.

I fought the urge recently to pull a baby out of her forward facing baby carrier.  The mother may have reported me had I gone through with the temptation.  I heard the mother talk to her friend about weaning and how it was only going to be organic, and realised with a heavy heart that this woman, like me, had never been told of the potential danger she was causing to her child, she wanted the best and was doing her best.

Hip dysplasia figures are rising in the UK and the health service are not changing their awareness policy.

The words of my health visitor still haunt me,

“hip dysplasia – what it that then?”

Preventing Hip Dysplasia – What I would do differently

When babies are in the womb a baby spends most of its time in the fetal position where the hips are bent and flexed.  When they are born the stretching out process can take months and as babies are flexible their joints are loose.

Put simply, if you force the joint to extend and stretch too quickly you can deform the hip causing displaysia or dislocation.

I would only use a sling that spreads the babies legs around my middle, like a frog.  Front carriers and ones that pull the legs together should be taken off the baby stores shelves and burnt (in my opinion.)

I would choose a car seat were the sides are low so the babies legs are not pushed together.

I would swaddle in a way that allows the hips and knees to extend.  This video demonstrates perfectly.

Finally, I would shout louder and sooner if my child was showing physical developmental delays rather than being pacified with the theory ‘she’ll catch up.’

Hindsight – If only.

I am a finalist in the category of Best Writer in the 2015 Mad Blog Awards, thanks to everyone who voted in the first stage.  If you want to see me win then please take two minutes to vote again here http://www.tots100.co.uk/vote/

For more details on DDH and why I think you should do everything possible to avoid it or try not to worsen the condition please read:

Before the cast      Operation Day   Living in spica and changing all expectations   Taking the cast off    The day I broke my daughter   Putting the cast back on      In your face DDH

You can visit Emma’s site as she blogs about her experience with DDH and her daughter.

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*This post may only be shared with credit to the author and the photo may not be shared without the post. 

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Comments

  1. I make Baby Carriers for a living so this is something close to my heart. I hate to see people wearing their babies facing out :0( if these people look at their baby in a carrier facing out and imagined “sitting” in a similar position they would soon realise how uncomfortable their baby will be after only a short time of being carried. Try it for yourself ! Sit facing forward balanced on something that sits between your legs, not only do you have to fight the urge not to fall forward putting strain on your back but the weight of your unsupported dangling legs pulls your body down. Not comfortable and potential harmful for your developing child ! I could write a whole essay on this but there is some really good information information out there already http://www.slingguide.co.uk/

    • northernmum says:

      Thanks Kerry x

    • sandra green says:

      Problem solved!!! There is a new carrier on the market by KiwiPeewee that seems to solve all of the problems. It is like a Bjorn but it has a seat underneath that the baby sits on so that it is supported under the bum. It’s a great solution to the problem. http://www.kiwipeewee.com

      • Why would you want to have your cherished little one protuding from the front of you like that – when the alternative is they’re close to you, listening to you breathe & speak and looking up at you, continually forming a very special bond?
        The pic on the website shows the Mum pointing (a reason often rolled out as the raison d’etre for front facing carriers). As a proud sling wearing Dad, I can honestly say that there’s nothing nicer than stopping, turning as one and looking at things together. No pointing required.
        Great article – hope your little one keeps getting better.

  2. I carried Joseph in slings a lot, always a wrap or a mei tai and always facing in. Except once, whilst waiting in a queue in Melbourne for a plane when quite frankly he was sick of the sight of me, he was 21 months old.

    It’s very difficult to see babies being carried outwards and I too have resisted the urge to throttle parents who do this. Hip health is very important to me, and I knew Joseph would be at risk with a family history of hypermobility coupled with his prematurity.

    People are just not given enough information to make informed decisions.
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    • northernmum says:

      Thanks Kylie.

      Knowledge is a great thing x

    • Throttle? I’ve had 4 children. Never had a carrier facing out. However, I knew nothing of this subject or condition….and I am a VERY conscientious mother and a science major. If a parent is doing something bc of a simple lack of knowledge, why would you get angry. Geez, calm down and try to help others or no one will listen to you at all.

      • I have never had a child of my own, but I love and care for my step children as my own blood, constantly ….. I don’t know what their mother carried them in but my oldest loves riding her horse, and she has terrible problems with her hips! She tries so hard only to be in pain later :( I am going to read up on this more just so maybe I can have some better insight to possibilities

    • Well, if you throttled me, I would press charges. I wear my son forward-facing in a Baby Bjorn “crotch-dangler” when I feel like it, and he loves it. In fact, he freaks out if he’s facing me, because my curious, intelligent son wants to look at the world around him. And yes, I’m informed and educated. I’ve known about the carrier “debate” since I was pregnant, and there’s not a shred of any medical evidence that carriers like the Baby Bjorn CAUSE hip dysplasia. I’m sorry about what happened to NorthernMum’s daughter, but I do feel that the title of this article feeds a general hysteria by implying that a front-facing carrier caused her daughter’s dysplasia.

      All I hear from babywearing groups is general hysteria and an outdated chiropractic article from the 90s (that doesn’t mention any specific brands). I’m getting sick of the babywearing snobbery.

      • northernmum says:

        Thanks for your comment,

        I think if you look past the title you will see ‘We will never know whether BB was born with dysplasia, or whether it developed through her first few weeks and months. We do feel let down by our health visitors, GP and pediatrician.’

        I feel let down that I was not referred by any medical profession for any awareness of DDH. Had I known what I know know I would avoid any product that can exesperate the condition, for me that included carriers that allow legs to dangle down whilst the babies joints are still lose.

        I think the ‘throttle’ is taken out of context in this and it is just a a term of phrase from a lady reknown for looking after babies health who has had a child with suble and weak joints.

  3. I had no idea about this until I read this post (think it’s been posted before unless I’m going mad?!) but it really makes sense when you think about it. I just don’t understand why shops are still allowed to sell the other types, or why don’t sell the other types too. I have used slings and now mainly use my Ergo but it’s so comfortable for both me and J. I’ve also helped pass this info on to my friends who knew nothing about it either x
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  4. Please, find some one that practices body stress release. They can help you.

    • Agreed.

      • Also, agreed. No evidence this causes harm to babies hips. I’m so sorry this has happened, but it’s not your fault for carrying you baby in a sling. Please stop looking for someone or something to blame.

        • northernmum says:

          Thanks for your comment, I don’t blame myself for my daughters hip condition, I preferred our second carrier and carried her 99% inwards. This post is about what I would do differently if I had my time again. DDH is not discussed freely during pregnancy and birth (in my experience) and I would like to see that change.

          The IHDI has great advice http://www.hipdysplasia.org/developmental-dysplasia-of-the-hip/prevention/baby-carriers-seats-and-other-equipment/

          The problem with front facing carriers is the hip cannot be supported as easily as it needs to be. This also applies to slings where the baby isn’t placed properly. The risk of DDH is greatest in 0-6 months and can be missed if the checks are carried out correctly. If the joint is weak but not dislocated then a number of things can impact that hips development.

          In my opinion, the carriers I see carrying a baby outward offer no stability or support for the baby in the hip area. I have worn them and I regret it. I would also swaddle less tightly and change my choice in car seats.

          Put simply if I had my time again I would try and minimize any risk.

          But this is my opinion and you are entitled to disagree.

          • The headline is really sensationalist. You don’t actually have any evidence to support your claim.

          • northernmum says:

            Thanks for your comment, you can find further information on how to position a baby here on the International Hip Dysplasia site. http://www.hipdysplasia.org/

          • Sorry but there is also zero proof in that link as well that front facing carriers cause hip dysplasia.

            I feel badly for your family and as a mother want only the best for you. However to say that all front facing carriers should be taken off shelves is over-the-top. It’s just simply not the case that FF carriers cause hip dysplasia.

          • northernmum says:

            Thanks for your comment, you may notes that no where in the article do I state my daughters ddh was caused by any form of carrier. In fact I reference that we were let down by our medical team.

            In my personal opinion, from my own research, it seems many babies are born with loose joint and when positioned in a way that causes stress to the joints this can exasperate an already present weakness in the hip socket.

            I think there should be more awareness about narrow facing car seats, carriers that allow legs to dangle and swaddling in order to heighten awareness of hip dysplasia.

            As a parent if I had known the risks I wouldn’t have used anything that could cause stress to the joints, to choose a different car seat, carrier or swaddle less tightly would have been a minor des ion which may have led to our case not being as severe.

            Jane

  5. This is so true. There needs to be evidence from lab studies to confirm it. Until then it will never be recognised.
    For any UK based parents look for your local sling library through NCT or any of the numerous sling groups on FB.

    I commend the writer for her honesty and bravery xxx

  6. I have never even heard or this which is shocking enough in itself. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. I really BB does not struggle too much in the future x
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  7. I think mother’s with babies who have some kind of deformity or disability are always desperate to find someone (or something) to blame. Whilst there may be evidence to suggest what you’re saying, I’m sure there are millions of babies and toddlers who have used forward-facing slings with no problems to outnumber those who do have hip problems (non of which can be directly correlated to the sling).

  8. I saw two of these at the Nearly New Sale today and wanted to pull them ‘for safety reasons’, but unfortunately even the NCT still sells them, because they are good sellers, and they are mainstream and people want them. It makes me think of that scene in the Lorax movie where The Onceler sings about not being ‘that bad’ because it’s ‘building the economy’ and so on – brushing over the ‘bad’ with all the ‘good points’. It makes me really sad. I’m so sorry your little one has suffered so much.

  9. I just thought I’d mention that the wording is a bit confusing, as at first I (and since have had others say the same) thought you were referring to a front carry, which is of course ok. When I think of high street carriers, and indeed hear others mention them, the phrase often used is “facing out” rather than forward facing (not that facing in on those types of carriers is great either). Loved the post though and did ultimately understand the gist. :)

    • northernmum says:

      Thanks Amanda – I am often called confusing! x

    • I was similarly confused. The term we hear/use is facing forward, which is much clearer as I imagine the risk remains the same whether the carrier is being worn on a person’s front or back.

      • I’m still confused. Are we only talking about carriers that are “papoose” style. Like the Ergo infant? Or being tightly swaddled. You said with legs together… So, I assume that means that Bjorn outwards facing is ok?

        • northernmum says:

          Hi

          My personal recommendation is to put babies in the position as prescribed by the international hip dysplasia institute as linked in the comments.

  10. Sarah Edwards says:

    This is a really interesting blog which raises issues I hadn’t ever considered. I admit to having my daughter facing forward in a baby carrier and not thinking it could hurt her. Would it be possible to post a link to this article on our community website to raise awareness to childcare providers please?

    • northernmum says:

      Hi Sarah,

      like most things it is a rare chance, but in a small baby where the hips are delicate, much has been written that facing inwards is more appropriate. But it is an controversial subject so I would advise you read around the topic and make an informed choice.

      Thanks

  11. I feel for you.

    My daughter was born with hip dysplasia, extremely severe in both sides. It was picked up the day after she was born as I raised it as a concern because I had the same condition. At four weeks old it broke my heart when she was strapped up in a Pavlik Harness 24-hours a day, for an unknown period of time. We got through it and after weekly physio and regular scans the harness was removed after ten weeks. The care she received was incredible, and she had regular check ups until she was discharged aged 19 months, she’s now two-and-half. However, the support we reecived was terrible.

    I managed to breastfeed the whole time she wore the harness despite being told it was ‘possible but not easy’. Had my own mother not been throuogh the same thing with me I really don’t know what I would have done, without her help and advice.

    Other bad experiences include a HV shouting across baby clinic ‘This one’s for you, she’s in a harness” and GP nurse asking me to ‘take that off” to weigh her.

    Yes, awareness does need to be increased amongst the health professionals, and parents too. Whilst it hurts those of us concerned, it is still a relativley uncommon condition. Babies with dysplasia are born with underdeveloped hips joints, compared to that of a none-affected baby. Their legs and hips need to be supported in the froggy position constantly whilst the ligaments and cartlidge form so they make the correct shape in preparation of later bone development. If underdeveloped hips are not supported then the joints can form mishaped, and with the hip joint out/not set properly within the socket – dislocated. It it at this stage that surgery is needed to correct the condition.

    It is vital that the hips are checked so early in life, as the sooner dyplasia is detected the easier it is to correct it. However, only babies classed as ‘at risk’ are scanned at four weeks old.

    My little girl was lucky, and due to the care she has received she isn’t going to need surgery. I wish you and BB a full recovery. Much love x x x

  12. I just had no idea this could cause any kind of an issue. I did carry Lyra facing outwards (though always in a ring sling rather than baby bjorn style) but would not have done so had I known this. I think there is a cruel irony that many of the parents who carry are doing so because they believe they are doing the best for their kids and promoting attachment but may be doing harm if carrying in the wrong way. For me, of course, the choice to babywear was simply due to the fact that I never could get the hang of the buggy….

    Big hugs to you Jane x

    • northernmum says:

      Ha! was the buggy hard?

      It is a controversial issue Pooky and of course this is only my opinion. If more was explained through pregnancy about how to carry a baby safely and about DDH in general perhaps it could be caught earlier and managed quicker.

  13. I can attest to how bad hip dysplasia is. I myself was born with it (both hips) and not diagnosed until 6 months old when I started crawling kind of funny. I had to be put in traction for 1 week and they shoved my hips back in my sockets and I wore my spica cast for 6 months. My mom never used baby carriers, Im in the USA and was born in 1983. My mom probably didnt even know what they were.

    I never babywore my oldest because she was also born with severe left hip dysplasia and diagnosed right away. She wore a soft harness for a long time and then at 18 months she had open surgery on her left hip, wore her spica cast for 3 months, had another surgery 14 months later to remove the metal they had put in. Shes now 7 1/2 yrs old and still in physical therapy. (she also has low muscle tone all over her body)

    I did babywear my youngest and still do on a rare occasion (shes 2) but only in proper carriers and not “crotch danglers” and never facing outward. I used the Baby Ktan wrap and then moved up to a Boba 3G.

  14. Good post. Unfortunately many educators argue about facing out still even though several hip experts have clearly spoken out against it. Nobody likes to hear that the way they carried their own children or advised other parents to carry their child could be harmful. Rather than humbly admitting a lack of education at the time, they will vehemently defend facing out and continue to teach it. Anything that stretches the legs downward can potentially be quite harmful to the hip development of baby. So is the Buddha hold or anything else that faces out. Even children who are prone for hip dysplasia will not develop it if carried in a correct carrier supporting the spread squat position. Some educators argue that facing out is different than swaddling or the cradle board, however, there is no difference. It puts the same stress on baby’s hip. Baby does not have the muscle tone to pull the legs up into a better position and hence the weight of the legs put undo stress on the accetabulum. Arguing that there is no peer review is also silly since parents would have to put baby into a carrier that can damage baby’s hip to prove that it is possible. What responsible parent would do that? Picking a baby carrier that supports baby in each developmental stage is most important, do buts about it. I agree, dangling carriers should be burned to keep any baby from being put at risk.

    • northernmum says:

      Thanks DeeDee for your comments

    • Thank you for so elequently saying what I wanted to say to debators!
      I did so many things wrong with my first & thank God she turned out okay, but now I know better & am entirely different with my new little one. I don’t get upset & defend my ignorance by saying, “she turned out fine, so I’ll keep doing it!” That’s just plain wrong to play inny-minny-minie-moe with a child’s future. Learn & change is what we should seek to do.

  15. I’m so sorry the dysplasia was caught late! My daughter’s was caught within hours of birth by our pediatrician. It was sad for us to have her in a harness for the first 3 months of her life, but thank God, we haven’t had any issues since. Her hips are perfect now and I’m so thankful our doctor caught it so quickly and early so it wasn’t a big deal.
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  16. Rachael Martinez says:

    thanks for writing this. I pray for your sweet baby’s healing. Can anyone direct me to a photo that shows an example of a “car seat were the sides are low so the babies legs are not pushed together”? I have never heard about this so I don’t know how our carseat measures up. thanks so much

  17. A heartbreaking story. I am so sorry. :'(
    I was never told this either with my first born, and he too spent some time in a Baby Bjørn.
    With my 2nd, she was premature and therefore in need of a lot of body contact. That’s when I started to learn about *real* slings and carriers. Those that are ergonomically correct, and the importance of it. I now try to educate on the matter…but some still don’t see the problem or believe me. I will share your story so that maybe, just maybe, one parent will listen and one baby will be saved.

    I hope your daughter will get better, and that with age, she will recover positivily. xxx
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    • northernmum says:

      Thanks for your comments, I think someone commented above saying each carrier suits different stages and more education on this is needed for new mums x

  18. The problem here is the word ’cause’. These carriers do not ’cause’ hip dysplasia – but if your child has these hip issues, and it is too early, or too mild, to diagnose – forward facing carriers will speeding up or worsen symptoms. I am not a fan of facing out, as it causes so much strain on mom’s back; but in a healthy babe? It is not dangerous. Would I take the risk, personally? No. I have no way of knowing if my child just has not shown symptoms yet. But that does not mean the word ’cause’ should be thrown around incorrectly.

    • northernmum says:

      Thanks Heather,

      The term ’cause’ is used in reference to forcing the joint to extend too quickly, rather than the choice of carrier, swaddle, or seat.

      I think for parents more education is needed about how to carry your child to maximise healthy hip growth and we didn’t have this when I was expecting my kids.

      Thanks again for commenting and raising a valid point.

  19. Hi there, My daughter too had hip dysplasia when she was born.. but they caught it and was treated for it by wearing a harness for about 2 months.. This caused delays in her crawling and walking.. but she is now doing ok. I am sorry you have to go through this. I do want you to know that if you are interested.. Essential Oils can help your daughter… Especially with the pain. Here is video to show you more information from a Pastor’s wife in OK.. that explains the oils.. And if you want more information.. just let me know. Blessings.. Judith http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03k8fz6iDI4

  20. I often tell mums and dads to sitt on a swing that’s high enough not to be able to touch the ground, with one leg on either side of the seat, then they have to sitt/hang there for 30 minutes.
    The look on their face will say enough, just hope they follow through ;)

  21. I was born with a dislocated hip and had several unsuccessful surgeries. I am 25 now with hip and back pain because of it. I can walk fine but after a while I have to sit and rest because my hip is in so much pain.

    • northernmum says:

      I am sorry x

    • LC – I feel your pain I was also born with DDH but the Dr didn’t think it was bad enough to do anything about! I am 57 yrs old. I have 4 children. They were all born in the summer because I could never have carried a child at 9 mo in the middle of Winter. My drs were amazed that I was able to carry children. But that’s a matter of willpower when you want something that badly. In the last 13 years I have had 7 major surgeries that I went out of state to get. This fixed my hips though. I ended up with total hip replacements- too bad we can’t just start out that way! Make sure you sony go to a dr who says you can!! You need a peri acetabulum surgery first if your hips are like mine were. Make sure your orthopedic measures the angles in your hips. There are 3 or 4 different angles they measure on your X-rays. Good luck to you! There is help out there for you!

  22. While I have never carried either of our daughter’s in a forward facing carrier, I have to say—this is just as bad in the states. I see it all the time and cringe all the more. Most parents believe that if it’s sold in a store, it must then be safe. I sigh every time I see it.

    I used a Moby for my Germany-born baby for the warmth it provided her. She didn’t sit with her legs out of it until she was pushing 4 months old (when she was ready). I remember trying around the 3 month mark, and the second I secured her, she let out this blood curdling scream once I dropped my arm support and let her sit. I’ll never forget that sound, and I’m only thankful that it didn’t cause her any harm.

    My youngest, I used an Ergo and again, no leg separation until 4-5 months old. I knew better than to try it earlier, but she would stay balled. Once she started to try and push to stand up, I knew she’d need to sit differently.

    Try not to let the guilt get to you mama. It’s not easy, but spreading awareness is a great gift to share. I’ll be thinking about your LO.

  23. Wow, I never knew this. I have a Baby Bjorn and only used it a handful of times because my baby didn’t really like it, and it got very heavy with her in it. But I always faced her out because she didn’t like facing in. I’m glad I ended up not using it very much, and for my next child I’ll make sure he/she faces in if I use a carrier. Thanks for the story!

    • northernmum says:

      Julia there are some great comments on this post which talk about the difference in slings etc just spend some time reading more about it and looking at positioning so you can make an informed choice.

  24. Lllearning Mum says:

    I had never heard if hip disp. Till bub was born and nurse and peas checjed for it in hospital. Early childhood nurse checked at 2 weeks. Then Doc, Paed and nurse checked.at 6 weeks. maybe it is an Australian thing to check for. The wraps that keep their legs to strqight are very popular and there isn’t enough info about these. Becoming more popular as they are so easy to get bub into.

  25. I’ve heard and read about hip dysplasia while browsing baby carriers I tend to buy for my baby. Mamas should read and inform themselves.. internet knows it all.. I choose Ergo. But I never heard about car seat that is better for hips so please link on some like that.. thank you. Spread the knowledge. Mama from Croatia

  26. Stefany Feldbusch says:

    I think it is important to let your child move, whatever way you carry your baby. I have carried both of my girls forward facing because they enjoyed seeing the world. Although, never for long periods of time and in moderation. Also, once they started moving and crawling, the carrier was seldom used. It is important for parents to use any carrier in moderation.

  27. Michal Noam PT says:

    Irecommend that you try apostherapy Uk
    They can help
    I AMA PT in Israel it is an Israeli invention by Dr.Avi Elbaz
    Have a great day
    Michal

  28. Thanks for writing this. Sorry your daughter is going through this!

  29. I had no idea about this. I used slings for my two [facing me] – this position just felt right to me iyswim. Much more comfortable. I wish your little one all the best – please don’t beat yourself up – you were trying to do your best xxx
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  30. I was not aware of this when my children were little, but had I known, I definitely wouldn’t have used the front facing carrier – why take the risk with your own child? That’s why it’s so important and good that you are spreading awareness – let’s all retweet ladies and see if we can get it featured in enough pregnancy magazines and groups to help others x
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  31. My daughter was born breech. From the first month the doctors told me that she had hip problems. Physical therapy!!! I took her to every appointment and did her excerises at home. She is now a happy healthy 2 year old that hasnt had any problems. It scared me to think she would go through life with problems that could hold her back. If you as a parent think that your child needs attention to their joints, just keep calm. Cause not all cases will end up with surgery.

  32. Most parents would not knowingly put there child in danger. I believe there is nothing wrong with approaching another parent and telling them what you know. It may seem like they will brush you off but most of them will go home and research what you have said. I am sorry for your daughter.

  33. Brilliant post Jane, it looks like you’re doing a great job spreading the word x x
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  34. Such an important post. Late diagnosis of DDH is all too common in my experience and is leaves our babies so vulnerable. Here is Erin’s shocking story of late diagnosis and an example of how she limped. http://www.emmaand3.com/erinsstory-ddh/

  35. hi, sorry to hear about your daughter, wish her all the best and hope the recovery will be full and she will not have any problems with her hips in future!
    My daughter was diagnosed with dis-plastic hips within hours of her birth by a pediatrician who checked her after birth and immediately sent her for a scan, she had to wear Pavlik’s harness for nearly 3 months of her life and when she was 2 years old, she was discharged from orthopedic care (after frequent visits, scans and X rays) and we are not to go back till she is 5. Her hips are fine now. Now, when girls are born, special attention should be brought to their hips as those may become affected by birth hormones that are released in their Mum’s body to open her hips wider and every girl when born, should be given a quick scan after she is born to se how the hips are. My daughter was also breech and born through CC so she had to be pulled out by her legs which I am sure has not helped at all.
    Your daughter is fully entitled to be taken to places in her buggy, it’s obvious she is not very comfortable walking sometimes, you should see my 5 year old son asking to go in her sister’s buggy as he is hypermobile and there has been times walking made him very tired.
    All the best to your daughter and hope the doctors are helpful, please do not be afraid to ask for help if you are in any doubt and need someone else’s opinion! Anna

  36. Wow! I didn’t know this and used a forward facing baby sling a few times. It hurt my back too much so I gave up.

    Why are they still being made?
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  37. I had only heard of DDH through Emma so not the reason I avoided those slings – they can be bad for your own back too which is why I paid the extra for a connecta. There’s guidance on pushchairs and car seats – carriers should come with guidance/advice too. Well done for raising awareness – sorry that you weren’t told and may have prevented it.
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  38. My daugher also suffers with Hip Dysplasia. We found out when she was 6 months old and because of her age she was referred to the Gillette Children’s Hospital (St Paul MN). There they put her into a spica cast. She was in one for that whole summer. They had to change the cast once due to growing. Then we went into a Hewson brace where she had to wear 23 hours a day (leaving the hour for when she would get her diaper changed) We then went to see how they were doing and they put her in a cast again for the whole summer (so her first 2 summers were in casts). She again had a cast change 1/2 way through the summer and at that time she had to also have a graft done and metal plate put in her hip. She got out of her cast in August. And she kept the metal plate in for about a year and half. That was taken out this past January and when the surgeon came out he said her hip looked so good that he couldnt have made them any better. Our next appt is in January again and I am hoping everything is still as good as it was then. Being a mom that has went through this, I totally understand! I quit my job to make sure I was the one taking care of the cast and making sure it didnt get messy(diapering was not fun, she got to wear maxi pads before she was a year old..lol). We also took lots of walks in our wagon as she had to pretty much lay down. We also purchased bean bags for not only for her to sit on at home, but also to take with us shopping. We had many people look at us funny for bringing a bean bag into the store with us, but once they saw our little girl they sure understood. All I can say it is a learning experience for both of us. Its crazy how resilient kids are and how they bounce back. My little one crawled in all her casts.. And even when she had the surgery to have the metal plate out (she was 3 years old) , it was an out patient surgery so we were out around lunch time and she was trying to walk about 2 hours after.. And about 2 days after she tried to tell me to go out of the room so she could jump on the couch!! :) Today you wouldnt know if you saw her.
    Sending thoughts and prayers your way.. I know it is very stressful and it sucks being in the situation, but keep your head up.. :)

  39. I carried my son till he was over three, forward facing, but mostly facing me. But as a dedicated baby-wearer I wouldn’t touch the Baby Bjorn after trying that. Not comfy for baby or mum, and not secure either. The Wilkinet, designed by an osteopath, lifts and separates baby’s legs even front facing. And is wonderfully comfy and safe. My other fave was the Babyhawk.
    But let’s not diss front facers entirely – there are so many different ones – believe me I tried loads. Tie the Wilkinet correctly and their legs don’t hang.

  40. Hi. I have that same urge too, to just shout at the people wearing babies facing forwards. I don’t like babybjørn because the baby’s hips are not correctly supported either way. Another thing that I don’t like with facing forward, is that the baby has no way of limiting the impressions it gets. There is no place for them to hide if they get over stimulated. When the baby is facing the person carrying, it has the possibility to hide from the world when it has the need, and I think that is important. Good luck, and thank you for posting this, it can not be said enough.

  41. It would be great if you had pictures of proper ways to carry a baby and improper ways. This is a little confusing to imagine! Thanks.

  42. Another great way to prevent DDH is to use cloth nappies! Their little legs are never squashed together like with disposables.

    • northernmum says:

      Yes I had a friend whose baby was diagnosed with clicky hips and they used cloth nappies and the hip stayed secure.

  43. This is something I’ve never heard of before, definitely good information though – we do plan on having more children eventually, and strollers are just so awkward for anything other than walking to the park.

    It did make me think back to when we had a carrier for our son, though. The one we had allowed me to carry him on my front or back, facing towards me or away. If I faced him away from me for more than 20-30 minutes, he’d start whining, but if he was facing me he’d usually be silent the entire trip, even if he wasn’t sleeping. I always thought he wanted to be able to see us, but maybe he was just uncomfortable.

  44. I was fortunate to have a wonderful yoga pregnancy teacher who went on and on about this very subject and spent weeks showing a group of confused pregnant ladies how to carry a baby properly in a sling. It was a really useful skill to learn especially for London based mums. Slings on the underground are a dream compared to a pram. Hindsight is a wonderful thing but it is more wonderful you are using what you have learned to help others.

  45. Great balanced post. Am so sorry to hear about your beautiful daughter :( I really hope she gets all the help she needs.

    I don’t think you should blame yourself or the sling you used, though it is definitely good to raise awareness and inform people of the dangers. I, like many parents, used forward facing slings with my babies (we had the Wilkinet) completely oblivious to these risks. Health professionals and companies marketing products aimed at parents should raise their morals and share all relevant knowledge with their clients.
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  46. What a brilliant post that will help so many parents out there that, like you say, are only trying to do their very best.
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  47. i had hip dysplacia when i was little and they didnt diognose it until i was 18 months old i endure almost 2 years of a half body cast with a wooden bar across to keep my legs open and they still dont know the sxact cause they are certain it could have been from the surgeon who pulled me out of my mum through a c-section and it was missed until i tried to walk. i am now 22 and i already have arthritus in my left hip and one leg longer than the other it is also causing me to have scoliosis because my legs are different lengths i have had both of my children checked with a scan to ensure that they dont have the same problem but i am unsure if putting them forward facing causes a dysplacia

    • northernmum says:

      Thanks Gemma, am sorry to hear you have had to endure DDH.

      Kids are predisposed to DDH – they are born with clicky hips etc, however there is little awareness about how to carry your baby properly to not worsen the condition. The Site i quote most often is the International Hip Dysplasia institute and they discuss how a babies joint is weak and in the first 6 months their hips should be really looked after.

      I think if we are given more awareness on how to position a new baby after birth this may impact the number of cases that go from weak joints to dislocation.

      The images on this post are great: http://www.hipdysplasia.org/developmental-dysplasia-of-the-hip/prevention/baby-carriers-seats-and-other-equipment/

  48. Thank you for being so brave as to share your story! It really is an important message. Most people look at me like I’m some kind of crazy woman if I say something about narrow seated carriers. What they don’t know (and I will tell them if they are interested) is that my daughter was born with DDH. Thankfully the doctor diagnosed it shortly after birth. She wore a harness for 2 months. It was a horrible time for us but nothing compared to surgery. She was (and still is) monitored closely to make sure her hips are developing normally. For about a year, we had the prospect of surgery hanging over our heads because despite all that we had done, her one hip still wasn’t growing properly. I had used a narrow seated carrier with her when she was little and her orthopedist actually advised against it. I met some wonderful women at my local LLL who offered to lend me some carriers that would help with her hip development. When I showed them to daughter’s doctor, he suggested I wear her in them as much as possible if she was happy I’m then because they put her hips in an optimal position to grow properly. Over the next 6 months, I wore her in those carriers as often as she would let me. In that time frame, her hips had not only caught up to where they were supposed to be for her age but they had exceeded those goals. Her doctor was thoroughly impressed and I cried years of joy that we were, so far, able to avoid surgery. I wish someone, prior to seeing her orthopedist, had said something about the narrow seated carrier I was using. I will pray for your precious daughter. Please try not to be you hard on yourself. Being mom is a tough job that no one ever really prepares you for. Thank you for being so brave as to share your story. I hope it inspires many families to really think about the type of carrier they use for their child(ren).

  49. Great post. I’ve never used baby carriers with mine. I didn’t think it was possible with twins and I hadn’t heard of them when I had my oldest. I think you are doing a great job in raising awareness. xx

  50. This is an important message, but not all front carriers are created equal. I made sure to get ones or wrap them such that their legs were in the right position. They refused to face inward so I didn’t really have much choice. I think they were much better off being carried than not, so just wanted to put that out there….I don’t know what the percentages are of kids with potential hip issues, but articles like this can really put people off even bothering to wear their kids between the issues with pouch slings and this, and telling people so absolutely that front carriers are impossible to wear correctly is unwise I think. I bought a Pikkolo and was very happy with it.

    • northernmum says:

      Hi Kara

      Thanks for your comment. The positioning of the baby is the important thing. If we can raise awareness of that then
      People can make more informed choices.

  51. Yes, yes yes. My daughter was born with hip dysplasia…I’m so grateful it was caught at birth, but it is still an ongoing journey as she just turned one and her last xray was not optimal. So surgery is possible. I had never heard of this condition and would likely have work her forward facing as it is so common in the US…I agree with you 100%…there should at least be warning labels like there are on cigarrette packs that it could possibly cause damage!
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  52. I think its important to point out that jumper seats cause this as well. You know the round seats with toys all around that they bounce in? Repetitive motion on legs that have not learned to carry weight at their own time as week as the poorly designed seats cause so much damage. Please consider adding this to your post. It’s important to keep babies in the most natural positions we can as they learn how to move their bodies.

  53. my tdaughter was diagnosed with hip dysplasia at 8 years old after years of taking her to the dr for her foot facing out 6 years i took her asking about her foot and the dr just would tell me nothings wrong well, finally i went and spoke to another dr. and said i was not leaving without xrays sure enough hip dysplasia and it was bad so many years of bone grinding on bone had wore down the socket so much they had to recontruct the socket and the joint a 12 hr surgery 10 days in the hospital 6 weeks in a brace 6 in a wheelchair 6 weeks in a walker 6 weeks on crutches and a scar that adults stare at however their is hope she is 2 years out of surgery running in a group of girls 2 days a week no limp and her first 5 k run in november it was a long road but to sve her years of pain and agony well worth it 98% of first born females will have hip dysplasia and what i learned is as a mother if something is not right then no matter what your dr. says stand up you know your child better than anyone!

  54. I used to carry Little A in a pouch sling so her little legs never dangled, and when I upgraded to a new carrier, I always carried her facing inwards, her little legs wrapped around me, hips supported. But it makes so much sense about facing outwards, their little legs hanging down like that…. X

  55. My 19 year old daughter just had PAO surgery for hip displasia. This was a horrific thing!! There are only 5 Dr in the US that do hip preservation!! Thanks for this article!! All they told me is she was born like this!!

  56. My baby loves her outward sling. She loves to lift her legs and kick. It wears her out. When I can see her tire I will either take her out of the sling or lift her legs. My outward sling allows the baby to lean forward. When a baby leans forward in an outward sling that is a sign that she is tired of that position. Babies communicate in different ways so have fun getting to know your baby. Take special care of their joints because it is not only the hips that need care. Every carrier type requires common sense and constant communication with your baby to be safe. A babies ques to their discomfort can be difficult to see, no parent should be judged for missing one. Sometimes bad things just happen.

  57. I am sorry for what you are going through. I can’t begin to even imagine seeing my child like that.

    I just wanted to add that I still use a stroller and my daughter is 6 1/2….it’s for safety, its for convenience, it’s for a lot of things….but what it is not is any ones business. Use your buggy with pride…an in your mind tell those onlookers to piss off…they don’t know your plight.

    Good luck.

  58. I carried three children (separately) in carriers, facing both forward and inward. I had no idea that I could have been hurting them by facing out. Thanks for sharing this, as I have my fourth on the way. Thankfully, my children’s hips seem to have developed normally, but it is so angering that this kind of information isn’t displayed more prominently when you purchase a baby carrier.

    • northernmum says:

      Hi lora,

      Thanks for your comment, through the comments notes have been made on all different types of carriers and I would advise you read through. DDh is a horrid condition but it affects a minority of children, the things I would do differently are because I have had a child with hip problems. x

  59. Are there any statistics tying the front facing carriers to hip dysplasia? I am sorry to hear of your daughter and will be praying for a safe recovery. But I was wondering what type of research backed up your arguments and where I could find them. As a father of an infant, I will be wearing a carrier more often than mom (who uses a wrap) and want to make sure not to injure him. I also don’t want to jump to conclusions, either.

    • northernmum says:

      Hi Chris – you can find much more advice on this page http://www.hipdysplasia.org/.

      Thanks for your thoughts on my daughter, DDH is very rare and hopefully this post will help raise awareness. Some comments ahve been made about different types of front facing carriers as well that seem to work well for others.

  60. Hi – I am a mum to a happy hippy 4year old boy who was diagnosed at birth with DDH. We are coming to the end of our journey (please God) and I have nothing constructive to add here, other than that my heart goes out to you. I know how tough a spica is, how awkward, how cumbersome and how there are days when you hide away, close the door and sob before carrying on regardless, because what else can you do?

    I wish you all the very best for the future x

    • northernmum says:

      Thanks Vicki, we loathed the spica! Hopefully her leg will get stronger soon. Nice to hear a happy ending, thanks for commenting x

  61. Hi, do you know if hip dysplasia might be the cause of my 4 yr old son’s left foot toe-in? Both of his feet toed in when he started to walk…his peds were never concerned and always said that he’d outgrow it. It’s never been cumbersome for him, it hasn’t slowed him down, he has no physical issues from it.

    The right foot straightened out, but the left foot never did. It is not a severe toe-in, but it’s definitely noticeable and I worry that long-term, the awkward use of that leg will cause him to have knee issues.

    I did bring him for a PT eval, and the PT stated that he felt as though the issue was due to a tight muscle in my son’s thigh. He gave us some exercises and sent us on our way. The exercises loosen the tightness, but within a short time, he’s toe-ing in again.

    I did wear my son in a front carrier quite a bit, and being the youngest of 4 (and my oldest 3 1/2 when he was born), he spent a good bit of time in an exersaucer.

    I’m wondering if I might have caused him to have hip dysplasia?

    • northernmum says:

      Hi crystal,

      I am not A medical professional but from what you described it sounds like your son doesn’t have ddh. Baby products that confine the hips will impact those who have weak hips. What I would like to see is better packaging on these products explaining how to position a baby and what age they are best suitable for.

      Please don’t worry, the sign of hips dysplasia are limping, uneven creases in the bottom and limited abduction. You can find out more by visiting the international hip dysplasia institution site as referenced in the comments.

      Thanks

  62. My daughter was diagnosed with DDH at 6 weeks old, so we had the simpler, easier form of treatment – 6 months strapped up in a body sling. Despite this, I wasn’t told by any of the medical professionals about this and I had no idea until I read this post of the damage that forward facing carriers can do. It is hugely important to raise awareness so good on you.
    My daughter still struggles with her joints as she is hyper mobile – so I understand those ‘glances’ from other mums when we still had to use the buggy at 3 and 4. And how some don’t understand just how tired she gets. Ignore them – it’s sad that they don’t think beyond judging to wonder why a child of that age might still need a buggy and instead of being disapproving, be supportive. You’ve been through such a lot – well done you all xx
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  63. To the skeptics: There is evidence from cultures that use papoose and back board carriers ( Inuit and Plains Indians) and where babies are swaddled from birth, that these cultures have higher incidences of hip dysplasia. So yes, I think that front facing carriers can worsen a pre existing condition or cause it to develop if there is a genetic predisposition for it especially if a carseat and other devices are not optimal for hip comfort.
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  64. I have one Baby Bjorn carrier that it says baby could sit facing forward and their legs are dangling too! I wonder why these prominent brand of baby products could still produce products that could induce serious damage to babies!! I really want to make a complaint to them!

    • northernmum says:

      Hi Kelly

      Thanks for your comment, I have left links in the comments that suggest more reading areas to research about what you feel is best for baby. ddh is very rare, but good positioning in the eearly days can help. Although this post has opened up some great conversations so I would advise you have a read of the different opinions and decided what suits you.

  65. Helen Pearce says:

    Hi my daughter was born with DDH and wasnt diagnosed until about 14 months and walking with an obvious limp. She had a closed reduction and was in a cast from nipples to ankles. She is now 6 1/2 and you would have no idea she’d been through this but it is so sad to hear that it is still going undiagnosed and that people are not getting the advice they need to protect their children from worsening this condition.

    Can I please add that it almost made me cry when I read ‘she’s still not fixed’ someone said that to me one day and I lost it completely, your daughter like mine was not broken and did not nee to be fixed, they were perfect beautiful babies with an unfortunate condition.

    Please also refer people to a charity called STEPS which is run by parents and carers of young people with lower limb disabilities, they were amazingly supportive and really helped me cope.

  66. mamma to three says:

    There are a lot of comments here- so sorry if I repeat someone elses previous comment.

    I have a question: Is it bad to have baby facing out on all carriers where their legs are dangling? I knew that it was bad in carriers like the baby bjorn- but what about a Moby wrap. Is it bad to have a baby forward facing with legs dangling in that type of sling/wrap? I assumed it was okay since it is a softer sling. Sadly I just found about all this not long ago- now that my babies are all too big for slings. But I like to be informed for my friends/families sake!

  67. I’ve just received the appointment letter to get my 1 year old daughter’s hips checked after waiting 3 months from seeing the doctor. She was commando crawling and dragging one leg. In the interim she is now crawling on hands and knees and I was wondering about cancelling the appt. but now having read all of this I’m totally convinced to keep it, even just to hear them tell me there’s nothing to worry about. I’m a recent sling convert and am the proud owner of a mei tai which my daughter loves – she gets excited when she knows she’s going in! We had a crappy Mothercare carrier which I used a couple of times but she hated it. I hope its use in the early days hasn’t caused any damage.

  68. I’ve just received the appointment letter to get my 1 year old daughter’s hips checked after waiting 3 months from seeing the doctor. She was commando crawling and dragging one leg. In the interim she is now crawling on hands and knees and I was wondering about cancelling the appt. but now having read all of this I’m totally convinced to keep it, even just to hear them tell me there’s nothing to worry about. I’m a recent sling convert and am the proud owner of a mei tai which my daughter loves – she gets excited when she knows she’s going in! We had a crappy Mothercare carrier which I used a couple of times but she hated it. I hope its use in the early days hasn’t caused any damage. I wince when I see people with BBs! Poor baby looks so uncomfortable :-(

    • northernmum says:

      Hi,

      Thanks for your comment, I am sure your daughter is fine and look forward to hearing good news. This post is very much a reflection on what I would do differently – and I have a daughter with a hip condition which was not picked up until late.

      Hindsight would have meant I did everything to ensure she didn’t dislocate completely, so anything where there is additional pressure on the hips would be a no-no.

      More awareness of DDH means more prevention and hopefully if you know the risks and as a lady has commented on here: know what age is more appropriate to which sling or carrier you can make an informed choice.

      Best of luck for the appointment and enjoy the mei tai – xxx

  69. My 9 month old daughter was born with hip dysplasia.. You can in fact tell if they were formed that way or if it happened after birth by having an arthagram performed- most doctors recommend this type of X-ray because it can show whether or not the hips were formed outside the sockets. We have also used 2 types of hip harnesses that would not work because her hips cannot be put back into the sockets- this normally only occurs with hip dysplasia formed inside the womb. If they dislocated later they can possibly be put back in. We personally have never been told not to use a carrier, the most important thing in hip dysplasia is to keep the legs spread every so often in order to keep the joints nice and loose, I’m sorry your child had to go through so many procedures, we do not really have that option because it would never work and could complicate and cause more problems.. Good luck to you xo

  70. Below is a link to an article I wrote on DDH. MAYBE some of you will find it useful. The research on this topic led me to write another article which I could not publish due it’s controversial nature with the medical establishment. However, just so you know, I read medical abstracts after abstracts. I discovered Dr.’s actually inadvertently create a dislocated hip in infants by using too much force in their testing to see if an infant has DDH. We all know the majority of doctors are rushed and stressed but still, female doctors generally use less force. Also, my friend is a pediatrician in the US and she thinks the harness is OVER prescribed. I believe this is done to protect against law suits and make money. Excuse the cynicism. I do not like slings that face a baby outward for a number reasons and would avoid it for sure., especially with infants. But, that is another topic.
    http://blog.ergobaby.com/2011/11/the-feldenkrais-method-as-it-relates-to-hip-dysplasia-in-infants/

  71. Hi, I just read the article, thank you for sharing … I just wanted to urge thoose who has this knowledge to actually stop and do inform thoose parents you meet on the street. Not grab the baby from her carrier and burn it … but gently inform the parent ;) I know could be so hard, but we are so afraid to actually react and engage in each other…. I just reacted from reading that several good parents really had to fight the urge to say something and I just wanted to encourage you to do act on that urge …. ;) I am working with myself trying to actually react when I find it possible … It might be hard but theese parents might be thanking you later. Love and blessings from me ;) /Lina

  72. Mark Fed up says:

    I am sick and tired of this backwards crap being spewed all over the internet. If you want to be taken seriously, PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS RIGHT AND TRUE PLEASE so some scientific evidence of the horribly out facing slings.
    As luck would have it. I HAVE had the chance to experience this. EVERY TIME I go rock climbing and I guess I’m just so super duper extraordinary that my Hips just beat being displaced every time.
    This is the reason that people are afraid of shots because of “mercury poison.” Or People are afraid to visit Hawaii because of all the radiation “leaking” from the power plant.
    HONESTLY I am OVER this kind of crap. If you want to be taken seriously and not just by a bunch of Moms who swear that organic is so much better for their kids, please use references and scientific research.
    Otherwise you are as credible as a 3rd grade science fair project.*

    *to be fair, you are getting the worst of my rage. I’m just so sick of people not immunizing their children or talking about certain things, basically being afraid and causing fear in others for no good reason. Thank you and goodnight.

    • northernmum says:

      Dear Mark,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Hips tend to be fragile in the first six months of life so I imagine that you will be fine rock climbing.

      Babies born with a pre disposition to hip dysplaisa may be at risk from some forms of carriers, car seats. You can see what the IHD recommends here http://www.hipdysplasia.org/developmental-dysplasia-of-the-hip/prevention/baby-carriers-seats-and-other-equipment/.

      Also the video posted about swaddling in the post has some interesting facts about swaddling and medical figures.

      This article http://www.happiestbaby.com/swaddling-and-hips/ discusses about how hip dysplsia can be present in lots of babies but can resolve itself if the hips are kept in the best and most natural positioning – thus one would argue that babies that are born with slight dysplasia and exposed to poorly positioned carriers and narrow seats and tight swaddling may face further surgery down the line.

      I am not aiming to cause fear but instead to highlight a condition that has impacted our life tremendously.

      I adore babywearing and recommend it to anyone, but I think my health authority would have served me better if they had explained what ‘clicky hips’ was and how I could try and avoid it – hence the section on the blog about what ‘T’ would do differently.

      As far as I am aware I have not mentioned shots or visiting Hawaii. As it stands my children’s medical records are up to date and I would love to be lying on the beach in Hawaii.

      Jane

    • You sound like me Mark! You will notice my above article on Feldenkrais and DDH in infants is heavily foot noted, IF that means anything. Thing is, it very often decades of ‘scientific research/studies to catch up with common sense or intuition. Sometimes it never does. We are aghast at the fact that as a species we believed babies did not experience emotions. We believed the ‘experts.’ Now it is proven in the lab that, yes, they do actually have emotions and feelings. Females, their offspring and the birth of their offspring have suffered greatly and continue to suffer at the hands of scientific research studies. As it happens, statistics and academic research studies were often torn to shreds at our dinner table due to reasons the educated population, including myself, could not understand, (my dad was a researcher) In short, studies are highly manipulated, contorted, often to lie the readers, get more money, or support personal bias. Variables are often not considered for one thing, neither is information about “relative to trends,” “relative to comparables,” etc. One would think we could get the straight answer quickly and sometimes the research is obvious, very often it is not, especially if has to do with anything related to money, health, or politics. The book Nurture Shock is a great example of how the author completely debunks 15, 000 (thousand) studies on children and self esteem, which is only one sliver of the book! YES, we have it all wrong. Do NOT tell your child how smart they are. He tears apart a number of assumptions all based on scientific evidence, that we made throughout the western world. Still, I much appreciate your view and believe we need to take both opinion and research with a scoop of salt. In the end, we have to base our decisions in child rearing on our own intelligence and behavioral feedback from our child.

  73. Our baby Molly was diagnosed with a “click” in her hip the day she was born, and after 2 weeks of hoping it would resolve – they have put her in a Pavlik harness. We are 1 week into the Pavlik harness treatment, and as bad is it is, it seems like it couldn’t be better news to have found this so early.

    We found that using the Baby Bjorn with a small blanket folded in the bottom actually helps to separate the hips much wider, and helps her to keep that position while in the harness. If you fold a t-shirt or blanket so that their legs are forced to separate out to the sides between their legs rather than dangle free, its actually a nice way to encourage the ‘frog leg’ position while being able to maintain some mobility for the time being.

    I wanted to say that your stories has been very difficult to read, and selfishly I can only hope that we have the opportunity to fix this early and avoid these issues down the road. I have shared your article to everyone I know and stumbled upon it on another friends Facebook wall this morning. Thank you for spreading this information.

    • northernmum says:

      Dear Mike,

      Thanks for your comment, I have a Molly too!

      I am so sorry you are facing DDH but I know so many people who have had the Pavlik harness treatment and never had any problems. My close friend had a baby in the harness and although it was really hard to cope with a newborn in one she was really please to not have a toddler in spica.

      Thanks for the comments about carriers.

      Hope Molly goes on to delight you and those hips get beautifully strong.

      Much love

  74. Hi, thanks for writing this. If you don’t know about biomechanist Katy Bowman already, you should go and check out her website and blog on http://www.restorativeexercise.com. If you have a Restorative Exercise Specialist in your area, book an appt to go with your daughter. There is so much you can do to get her hips aligned and strong!

  75. When your child is a bit older, maybe you should look into Bikram (hot) yoga? Its supposed to be good for joint injuries. From what I understand, the heat in the studio loosens up the joints and lets them rotate freely, then the yoga moves stretch and reset the joints. From an instructor friend of mine, its not as intense or difficult as it appears. His studio has a customer that could barely walk after a car accident & now you can barely see her limp … It could be helpful for your child, too, when shes old enough to attend.

  76. My daughter was born with hip dysplasia, thankfully wearing a brace for 6 months corrected the problem. Yet now at age 21, she has problems, one leg is a tad longer than the other, her back is crooked, we don’t know if it was because of the dysplasia or not.
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  77. Hello,
    I am sorry to hear your dd has needed so much surgery. I just want to point out while there is lots of great information on the IHDI are not a medical institute in America the word Institute is different to hear, it was set up by a group of parents to share information, I always think the information should be used as a guide rather than a fact…
    The facts are there is not evidence that narrow crotch carriers cause children any issues, maybe more research needs to be done.. The problems are most of the research has been carried out by the baby carrier manufacturers, i feel maybe independent research would be clear, but as to who would fund it …
    Have you contacted the manufacturer of the carrier you used to ask them what is the company’s stance on this ?
    I make baby carriers so like a few others who have commented its something close to my heart too, i don’t recommend facing out but a hip carry instead…
    I would like to add what i feel is an important link as there are Sling/baby carrier meets/ library’s and consultants who work endlessly to help educate/advise and support family’s with choosing/using a baby carrier http://www.babywearing.co.uk/localsupport/
    families can type there postcode in to the link and see what is in their area

    Someone wrote that the issue over facing out is sling snobbery .. I think in any community you get ‘snobs’ but the issue on facing out, i would not say is about snobbery more an unclear safety issue.. the real fact is we just don’t know if putting your baby in this position will (if there is already an undiagnosed hip problem) give them hip problems, this is why i would advise getting in touch with the company
    I thank you for bring the subject up, as these things need to be discussed and i wish your DD a speedy recovery
    x

  78. http://thereandbackagainamotherstale.wordpress.com/2013/09/30/whats-the-story-10/ I blogged about your post, love to you and your family x

  79. Your post is so honest and heart-breaking. I know when I learned about the debate I gave up my BB immediately (albeit it wasn’t until baby #2 was on the way) … and now that he’s too big to fit in our Ergo, your post prompted us to run a giveaway (for US residents only, please) of our gently used Ergo Standard Carrier in the hope that maybe one more mama would give up the forward-facing carrier … http://omamas.com/gently-used-ergo-baby-carrier-giveaway/
    Thank you for sharing your story.
    Jeanne recently posted..gently used ergo baby carrier GIVEAWAY!My Profile

  80. Hi, bless your little girl. My daughter was born with hip dysplacia…It was diagnosed at 4 weeks…she went on to wear a velcro body harness for 9 months which worked on her right hip, but not her left. Finally found out after a both a failed closed reduction then open reduction operation, that left her in a cast for 12 weeks, that her femur was no where near her hip so the hip socket never had a chance to form. She had a further op to reconstruct her hip socket and another cast for 12 weeks, she now has pins through her hip bone for life.
    Due to the early diagnosis I have never been able to use a sling with her, let alone a forward facing one, yet she still had problems. I agree that they should never be used, but that would also apply to baby walkers, door bouncers and anything that lets the baby put pressure in their hips. Im sure you were told too, but a baby is not born with a hip socket, this forms as the cartilage around top of the femur calcifies when the child moves their legs in all positions agains the pelvic bone.
    My daughter is now 4 and still sees her specialist, but apart from running a little awkwardly and taking longer than most to be able to peddle a bike you would never know there was any problems.
    They say its not hereditary but my mum was born with the same condition which at the time was called ‘clicky hips’ and I have just been told that i suffer from a mild form that never bothered me until my late 20’s…I was checked as a child due to my mums condition and found to be perfectly fine.

  81. This blog is really remarkable. Thanks for sharing this great stuff. Keep sharing more useful and conspicuous stuff like this. Thank you so much.

  82. I wonder how many mothers would put their baby through scientific studies that were trying to prove whether or not something was dangerous to their child? Hands up!! This is the main reason why there are no studies. When you understand human physiology you understand why the legs dangling down is not healthy. Whether a child gets hip dysplasia or you’re setting them up for pelvis and back issues later in life, we can think of a million and one other reasons for the cause. The rate of hip operations in young people is increasing. Why, if we can easily buy a different sling, easily carry baby in a different way, would you not do it and instead bitch at people who are trying to inform the world about the dangers?!

  83. As a mom or a baby with a spinal deformity at birth That is similar ish. We also did casting to help hold the body in the current position until it could hold itself I want to tell you to have no guilt. I can tell you that you carrier did not cause this. They also hold spines in a horrible position and certainly don’t help proper development they didn’t cause the problem.we were also told by people that if I saw a chiropractor or acupuncturist my son could have been fine. If he didn’t sleep in the swing etc. maybe they could have fostered an optimal environment for growth. But without a predisposition and the start of the condition these wouldnt have hurt. Doing everything right also wouldn’t have circumvented the problem. These are things people tell us and that we tell ourselves to believe we have control. I can tell you that being a baby trier manufacturer tired (orfa proper carrier) and being on in international parental advisory board for my sons condition and the expert on carriers for them. We look at both the spine and hip displasia because they conmnly go together the research doesn’t support there was anything you could do. You did great mama! Please dont have guilt. I think it’s important to teach families how to foster optimal development but no one should feel guilty. This one decision with with a very large probability not the determining factor.

  84. In one of your comments, you pointed out the hip displaysia is more critical from 0-6 months. I have never seen a front facing carrier that allows forward facing under 6 months of age. I’m sure people still do it, but that is on the parents, not the carriers.

    And front facing isn’t necessarily the issue. It’s the narrow “seat”. I have a carrier that is a 5-way carry. One of the positions is front facing. This is done with the “seat” in the widest position. The baby’s legs are in the same exact position as when she is on my back, or forward facing on my chest.
    Please do not critique the moms who 1)Have never heard of any possible harm with forward facing and 2)those who ARE educated, and have taken proper precautions.

    My son, now nearly 5, was almost always front-facing in a baby bjorn from 6 months and up. He loved it, and his hips are fine.

    • northernmum says:

      Hi,

      Thanks for your comment, please note my piece is opinion only and does not critique parents, it does display my frustration with our health providers at the time.

      For me, having one of the 2-3000 babies diagnosed in the UK with DDH – I would not recommend putting a child of any age in a carrier that does not allow the natural leg positioning.

      Thanks

  85. And they still sell these slings all over the place. I’m pretty sure my cousin has one. Am going to check!
    Notmyyearoff recently posted..Silent Sunday / Project 52 – Week 41My Profile

  86. Great post I loved it I now know much more about eventbrite! Very well written keep up the good work.

  87. Karen Swalberg says:

    I am the perfect example of what Uncorrected hip displaysia does to a person! I was 45 yrs old and got to a point where I could barely walk from the pain. I had pain my whole life. Hip replacements were not the answer for me growing up because i had no hip sockets. i was finally referred to a world known hip surgeon who knew how to help me!! 4 hip (would have only been 2 but something else happened in between) reconstruction surgeries & then 2 hip replacements later it’s a miracle that I can still walk. Those extra 2 surgeries messed up my back which then caused my to need 3 back fusions. I was born with hip displaysia THAT WENT UNCORRECTED. If THERE ARE SOME front facing carriers that POSSIBLE CAN CAUSE this… I would burn them to prevent a child from going thru what I have been through. I don’t know? But I think that Dr’s are more aware of it- at least my children’s Dr’s were and I know my greandchildren’s are. My children watched my suffer for 10 years to heal. I can now stand straight and walk with no pain. Anyone want to take me up on that???

  88. Hi
    I want to thank you for your post. I came across months ago when I was researching on which types of baby carrier to buy. Your post is one of the reasons why I started researching on hip dysplasia. It’s terrible that I still see so many parents using front carriers.
    I would like your permission to share/link your post on my blog, as I am currently writing a post about hip dysplasia. I think its important that more parents be made aware of this potential problem. Thanks again- Lydia @ http://www.paranoidmommy.com
    Lydia recently posted..Hip Dysplasia in InfantsMy Profile

  89. Soon to be a mom and this guide helped me a lot!

  90. We found there are a range of baby carriers and preference often depends on the size and shape of the Adult carrying the baby as well as the dimensions of the baby.

    We started with the Moby Wrap which was good, but really to position our girl Alice when she was smaller. It’s good as an on-hip solution.

    Tula baby carriers are good as they can be turned into a number of different positions that are comfortable for both adult and baby. They come with an insert for smaller babies.

    I agree with the comment above, there are a few Carrier parties, that allow you to try and buy the one that is right for you.

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  93. Hi there Northern Mum!!

    I have to say that while reading your article, I started crying a little because I know exactly what you and your precious little girl are experiencing, however, I experienced it through your daughters eyes. I am 31 years old, born in Sullivan, MO December 15, 1982. I too was born with the same hip condition (or it happened during the delivery). My father took several photos and one of them is questionable on how the doctor is holding me. Needless to say, he didn’t properly check my limbs either. Well my parents didn’t know anything was wrong until I was four. My parents among others, noticed that I was very clumsy. I tripped over myself falling all the time. They noticed that I had a limb as well. Upon fully examining me, my parents realized that there was something awfully wrong with my right leg. They took a picture of my legs and sent it to the Shriner s Hospital in S.C. so that they could see if I was a candidate for medical extermination. They immediately responded and directed my folks to bring be in right away. Once the medical personnel examined me, they informed us that I have had a dislocated hip all my little four years of life. They agreed to do my surgery, however, their first technique did not work like they planned, my case was different, at the time, compared to other cases because of the length of time I went with the dislocation. So originally, the surgeons were going to scrape the cartage out of my hip socket and rotate my join forward back in the appropriate position, unfortunately they couldn’t scrape my socket because it was too hard. It had went far too long to do the normal fix. They then made a horizontal seven inch incision parallel from the diagonal five inch incision to cut my thigh bone all the way through, remove a couple inches, from my bone to make it the same length as my left leg, and then rotated my right leg from the cut down, back out to is normal positioning. This left me with a dislocated hip still. And is to this day. I do hurt from time to time, but nothing too unbearable. I was in a series of cast just like your little one and then the final stages I was in a double leg brace. I’m sharing this with you homing to shed some light on the future to come. I know how hard it is to deal with this situation, but good days are still to come. I had a happy healthy childhood. I wasn’t as good at gymnastics as other girls, or could run as fast in softball, but I was able to have fun and participate pain free. Sometimes I forget that I have a disability. In fact, unless I’m just having a bad day with arthritis, I don’t even realize the issue unless someone asks me why I limp. I don’t let it bother me though, I wear my limp as a badge of strength! I am proud of it because I beat all odds and can move and get around as a normal everyday person, and that’s something to be proud of! With age, I have noticed that it is hard to tie my shoe on my right leg, it hurts a little to bend down there to tie it, but I can still do it. Strappy shoes, its hard to put em on normally, so I have devised this crazy position to hook them, lol. Ultimately, her best years are yet to come! I would love to share any life experiences relating to my hip with you if you like. If you have any questions, I would love to shine some hope your way! There are a few things I have experienced that are personal, you may be concerned with, I would share those with you as well, if you want to do it through a private email. Carrying a child for example with my condition…. I look forward to helping in any way! I am going to drag out old photos of myself during that time. I noticed that one of my cast were the same as the little cutie pictured at the top of this page! :D Have a great day! Lots of love to you and your little solider!

  94. After our chat this week I had to come and read your blog post – sharing this now as I think the biggest problem here is ignorance, I literally had no idea about front-facing carriers when I had L 8 years ago, fortunately when C was born 2 years ago I got an Ergo-baby carrier which only allows you to carry your baby “into” you, i.e. safely for hips. One good thing about monthly visits to the paediatrician in France means that things like this get picked up sooner there (even if it is a pain to schlep there every month!) xx
    Franglaise Mummy recently posted..My crazy work experience in FranceMy Profile

  95. I have never used a sling myself as I found it very difficult to find a comfortable one with having larger than ‘average’ breast. i have always but baby in a pram (i am a mum to three) – is there any evidence to suggest that a pram may be harmful? sorry to sound silly but I too was never warned of the dangers of slings?

    • northernmum says:

      To my knowledge prams are fine – you can find lots of helpful advice on the International Hip Dysplasia website :)

  96. Hi, I noticed that this post was written in 2013…since then the ergo baby 360 has come out and has the option for an inward and an outward facing carry that is ergonomically correct. The 360 has a structured bucket seat that allows the baby to be in a frog leg position no matter which way you are carrying. Have you done research in this product? This is the carrier I use with my 1 year old (both outward and inward) and was wondering what your thoughts are?

    • northernmum says:

      Hi Lauren,

      Ergo do fantastic carriers for mum and baby in my opinion.

      They support the hips beautifully,

      My concern is with products that don’t support the hips.

      Happy baby wearing

      J x

  97. Thank you so much for writing this, education on this matter is key!

Trackbacks

  1. […] Forward Facing Baby Carriers – Risks Hope I don't get shot down for this, just thought I'd share for those who may be looking for a baby carrier and are unaware of the potential risks of forward facing…..I have a friend whose baby was born with hip dysplasia and had to go through surgery and months in cast so anything we can do to prevent is worth it in my opinion… http://www.northernmum.com/2013/09/h…baby-carriers/ […]

  2. […] I would strongly recommend that parents carefully select an appropriate baby carrier that would support proper hip growth. The legs should not be freely dangling, but should be supported up to the knee joint so that it is spread apart.  I would like to share with you the story of a mom whose child had to undergo surgery for hip dyspl… […]

  3. […] Arguments on the subject abound, typically between moms who are hell bent on offering their babies sensory stimulation. These moms point to the fact that there is currently no evidence that a baby carrier has ever caused hip dysplasia or any other injury related to baby wearing. That may be the case clinically; however one anecdotal account of the dangers of exacerbating loose hip joints by improper baby weari…. […]

  4. […] I was sitting on the London underground today when I saw something that made me beam and hiccup a sob simultaneously. It was a stranger, a man, he was carrying his baby in a sling. The child was adorned in a beautiful bonnet and she was beaming at her father. Her eyes were staring at his, and her lovely chubby baby legs were spread around his waist in a gorgeous frog like position. http://www.northernmum.com/2013/09/hip-dysplasia-why-we-should-burn-forward-facing-baby-carriers/ […]

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