Spica What? I didn’t know THAT!
There are a lot of great products that we all need and love as a parent. For example, you purchased a car seat based on safety ratings. You got the perfect sling because you know a baby touching his mother creates a warm, soothing environment. Plus, it’s easier on your back. You have a colicky baby so you’re thankful for that awesome swing Aunt Betty gave you at your baby shower. These are great products, but did you know they could cause issues with your baby’s health because of improper positioning? These issues can lead to hip dysplasia.
To help prevent hip dysplasia, it is important for babies to be able to open up their hips naturally, especially during the first six months of life until their hips develop and their ligaments become stronger. Hip dysplasia occurs when the ball joint of the hip becomes permanently deformed. Sometimes this can go undetected until the baby starts walking because it is painless as it is developing. The hip can also become dislocated if the baby is continuously in a stretched out position. Surgery becomes necessary to fix Hip Dysplasia to prevent health issues down the road into adulthood.
Signs and symptoms vary. Here are Some Things to look for:
- Asymmetry: An asymmetrical buttock crease can suggest hip dysplasia in infants. An ultrasound or X-ray will show if the hips are developing normally or not.
- Hip Click: Hip clicks or pops may be a sign of hip dysplasia, but those sounds can be normal too.
- Limited Range of Motion: Diapering may be difficult because the hips don’t fully spread.
- Pain: Hip pain is not normally present in infant and toddlers, but is common among adolescents or young adults.
- Swayback: Painless, but exaggerated, waddling, limping, or a leg length discrepancy are most common findings after a child learns to walk.
If your baby does need surgery, follow-up care and transportation can be quite overwhelming. Be sure to discuss with the surgeon about how your child will be casted and what type of car seat they ride in. The spica cast – most commonly used for children with hip dysplasia – can shorten the list of car seats you could choose from. Keep in mind that you may NOT have to purchase an expensive “medical” car seat. A conventional car seat may be an option. Radian car seats work well with spica casts because they provide open space at the hip-area, making room for the leg-positioning that the spica cast requires. Whichever car seat you choose, you should bring it to one of your pre-surgery appointments so the surgeon understands how your child will be transported and can possibly cast the child accordingly. Most surgeons do not consider how the child will be transported. After all, their main focus is to fix the hip problem. Many hospitals have a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician/Instructor who is very familiar with transporting children with special health care needs. If the hospital does not have a certified CPST, search for a tech or instructor in your area at or contact me directly!