Pavlik’s harness is specially designed to gently position your baby’s hips so they are aligned in the joint, and to keep the hip joint secure. Since it is almost impossible to secure one hip by itself in the harness, both hips need to be positioned in the harness. This does not mean that your baby has problems with both hips. By positioning your baby’s hips in such a way that the hip joint is aligned and stable, it will help normal growth and development of the hip joint. There are several reasons why the Pavlik’s harnessneeds to be used and the doctor will explain to you why it is necessary for your baby to be in one.
It’s best to allow the knees and thighs to spread apart so the hips point towards the middle of the child’s body. Anything that presses the legs together should be minimized but the child should have freedom to pull his or her own knees together. You should encourage positions that allow the legs to spread apart like a wide V naturally. They should not be forced apart.
(view from below)
Avoid swaddling with the legs together, and also avoid sling carriers. Avoid anything that holds the legs together. Breast feeding position should be fine. Pant sleepers are OK if you unsnap the snaps across the crotch area plus one or two snaps down the legs and up the bodice.
- The Pavlik’s harness is designed to keep your baby’s hips in a specific position. The harness should not be removed in the early stages of treatment, even if it is soiled, unless directed by a doctor.
- Each week or two in the beginning of treatment, the position of the harness will be checked by the doctor or nurse practitioner and probably adjusted. This will allow for natural growth, keeping the hip joint in the best position.
- Soft, thin clothing (preferably a shirt or vest with a collar) may be worn under the harness. Occasionally the shoulder straps may rub against the neck. If they do, some soft padding can be added to cover the straps. This will prevent any harmful rubbing.
- Each day: it is important to check the knee creases, groin creases and sides of the neck for skin rubbing.
- Important: You should never unfasten straps , these are the hip flexor and hip abduction Pavlik’s harness. When the hip joint becomes normal, as it does in most cases, the doctor will start allowing you to remove the harness for certain periods of time.
Onesies under the harness, or body suits with snaps below for easy diaper changes work well for most babies. Collared body suits are often recommended, but the regular ones are usually all that’s needed unless the straps are rubbing the neck. Clothing should be loose around the legs as much as possible.
Knee length socks are normally worn beneath the lower leg straps and booties to help prevent chaffing. To change the socks:
- Undo both (#5) straps and remove only one leg from the harness
- Replace the sock, put leg back into harness and retighten the straps
- Repeat for the other leg with straps (#6). Cotton socks are usually best.