(UPI) -- Health professionals are warning that swaddling babies by binding their arms and legs with blankets could potentially damage their developing hips.
Professor Nicholas Clarke, of Southampton University Hospital, said the technique used to keep children from crying by wrapping them to simulate the feeling of being in the womb may end up doing more harm than good.
"There has been a recent resurgence of swaddling because of its perceived palliative effect on excessive crying, colic and promoting sleep," Clarke wrote in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood.
"In order to allow for healthy hip development, legs should be able to bend up and out at the hips. This position allows for natural development of the hip joints," he explained. "The babies' legs should not be tightly wrapped in extension and pressed together."
Jane Munro, of the Royal College of Midwives, said swaddling was a "seemingly innocuous" thing to do, but that it could also lead to a raised risk of cot death.
"We advise parents to avoid swaddling," she said, "but it is also crucial that we take into account each mother's cultural background, and to provide individualized advice to ensure she knows how to keep her baby safe, able to move and not get overheated."
Rosemary Dodds, of the U.K.'s largest parenting charity, NCT, said it's important to raise awareness of hip dysplasia and overheating in relation to swaddling.
The International Hip Dysplasia Institute has helpful videos online showing how best to swaddle babies.