Preventing Flat Head Syndrome: Essential Tips and Strategies


Plagiocephaly, commonly known as flat head syndrome, is a condition where a baby’s skull becomes misshapen due to external pressure. Because infants’ skulls are highly flexible, any consistent pressure on the head can lead to molding. This often occurs in babies who spend a lot of time lying on their backs, such as during sleep or in devices like rockers, swings, or car seats.

While flat head syndrome is visible, it typically doesn’t impact a baby’s development or cause discomfort. However, if you notice signs of it, consulting with your pediatrician is advisable to rule out any other underlying conditions, such as craniosynostosis, a rare genetic disorder where the skull plates fuse prematurely.

How to reduce the risk of Flat Head Syndrome:

  • Incorporate at least 30 minutes of supervised tummy time into your baby’s daily routine.
  • Vary your baby’s sleeping positions.
  • Hold and carry your baby frequently.
  • Keep your baby in an upright position while feeding rather than reclining.

Treatments explained:

Treatment for flat head syndrome often involves relieving pressure on the skull. Tummy time is particularly effective in this regard, as it helps develop your baby’s neck and shoulder muscles while giving the back of the head a break from constant pressure.

If your baby’s head is flatter on one side, alternating sleeping positions can help. You can achieve this by rotating your baby’s head within the crib or changing the direction they face during naps.

If you have any concerns about your baby’s development or flat head syndrome, don’t hesitate to discuss them with your GP or public health nurse for guidance and support.

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