Hip subluxation and dislocation are common sequelae in children with bilateral cerebral palsy and are currently managed by surgical interventions. This study aimed to investigate the effectiveness of early postural management programmes on hip subluxation and dislocation at five years, and the need for treatment in children with bilateral cerebral palsy, and to compare these findings with a historical control group. METHODS: A prospective cohort study followed 39 children who commenced using postural management equipment under 18 months of age. Levels of ability, type and amount of equipment use and treatments were recorded every three months. At 30 and 60 months, the hips were X-rayed and the hip migration percentage was measured. The results were compared with the historical control group. RESULTS: Children who used equipment at recommended and moderate levels had significantly less chance of both hips being subluxed than those using equipment at minimal levels (two-tailed Fisher's exact chi(2) p = 0.024). The frequency of children with hip problems was significantly less in the intervention group in comparison to the historical control group at five years (chi(2) = 11.53, df = 2, p = 0.006). The frequency of children receiving bilateral or unilateral treatments, i.e. surgery, use of a hip and spinal orthosis and/or botulinum toxin injections, in the intervention group was significantly less compared to the historical control group (two-tailed Fisher's exact p = 0.001). CONCLUSION: The early provision of postural management equipment has a role to play in reducing the number of hip problems and therefore the need for treatment of hip subluxation/dislocation in cerebral palsy at five years of age.