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For children with a body harness or spica cast by hip dysplasia

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Hip dysplasia baby - story of Jasper

Hip dysplasia (Jasper)


  • Grandmother, cousin and older sister also had hip dysplasia.
  • Discovered at standard screening in hospital at 3 months.
  • Pavlik and Campspreider (hip brace)
  • Treated from 3 months to 2 years

It took me much longer to get used to my son wearing a body harness than it did my son.

Hip dysplasia runs in our family. My grandmother and cousin both suffered from it. Our daughter had to wear a Pavlik bandage for 7 months. We did not, however, expect that, 5 years later, our son would have to be treated as well, as boys suffer much less frequently from hip dysplasia. Because of our family history, Jasper had an initial ultrasound scan of his hips at 12 weeks. It appeared that an X-ray was also necessary. X-rays are made when the ultrasound scan causes concern.  

After a week the paediatrician called to tell us that our son also had hip dysplasia, which was of course a disappointment. Because we knew that it could be solved with the right treatment, we went for it.

We had a meeting with an orthopaedist who showed us the X-rays and told us that Jasper would have to wear a Pavlik bandage. We were already familiar with a Pavlik so that helped us. It did, however, not take away our disappointment that once again we were unable to hold and cuddle our baby without the medical instrument in between. But soon enough we were used to it again and knew that the treatment was necessary. It made the times of changing nappies and bathing even more special as it was allowed to take the bandage off for this. 

One month after the Pavlik bandage was fitted, we had to go back for a check-up. Another X-ray and conversation with the orthopaedist. Unfortunately, Jasper had made very little progress in one month, as a result of which he had to start wearing a body harness (‘ Campspreider’) and was no longer able to move his legs. But Jasper took it in his stride. ‘ I need to wear that harness? Okay, if I have to…’ is what he seemed to think. Because he was so little at that time, it didn’t seem to hinder him much as he did not know otherwise.

Each month, we had to go to the hospital for a check-up. After six months, it appeared that the progress made with the development of his hip was minimal. This was a huge disappointment, as we had silently hoped that it would be okay after six months, just like with his sister. But this was unfortunately not the case. I immediately started looking for nice clothes for my son. He had only been wearing grey tights underneath his body harness. The festive season was approaching, as well as his sister’s birthday and his own birthday. His sleeping bags had also become too small. When our daughter had to wear a Pavlik bandage, there were only self-made garments available. But now with our son in a body harness, we found a webshop where we could buy items for children with a body harness. With the items we bought Jasper would look lovely in his new clothes during the festive season and on his sister’s and his own birthday. Of course this was not the most important thing, but it was a nice bonus!  

When Jasper was 1 year and 3 months he had another check-up. During the day, he would no longer need to wear the body harness, only at sleeping times. Another milestone! He was wearing the body harness for half a day, and for the rest of the day we was able to continue his development. A whole new world opened up for him. In the meantime he had already learned to stand on his legs while wearing the body harness. He also started walking while holding onto tables and the sofa, but there was so much more to discover. Because what do you do with those two legs when you have never used them before? After a few days he was already able to pull himself up by holding onto the table and with wobbly legs he began to discover what he was supposed to do with them. This was followed by a period of crawling. And he finally managed to walk properly at the normal age. 

We had to try to keep his legs spread for as long as possible until he could no longer take it. He managed to wear his body harness in bed until his birthday. When he went to bed he automatically lay down in a spread position on the changing mat.

When it was his birthday we took the body harness off. A double celebration! But not without doubts. For the first few days we felt guilty: did he really say six months ago that we could take the body harness off? Of course he did. But you have got so used to it. We had to go back when he was two, but there was no hurry. Yes there was! We very much wanted to make an appointment as soon as possible. An X-Ray, together with his big sister (she had to go for a check-up too), and then off to find out how it’s going. During one of the last check-ups the orthopaedist said that there was still be the possibility that Jasper would need to have an operation. This was all very stressful. To our great delight the orthopaedist said that everything was fine and that his hips looked like the hips of a ‘normal’ two year-old. Our daughter was fine too. She didn’t have to go back any more.

There was a cake when we got home, and we hung the body harness on the flag outside. It was time for a little party!

All in all the treatment lasted for a year and nine months.

Jasper is (still) a healthy, sweet and happy little boy. He is now a cheeky two year-old toddler, who is trying to learn to run. He doesn’t have to have another check-up until he is four.