Flat head syndrome(Positional plagiocephaly)
What is flat head syndrome?
Flat head syndrome is a condition where a baby’s head develops an abnormally flat shape. It is usually on the back or side of the baby’s head. This condition is also called plagiocephaly (Pronounced play-jee-oh-sef-uh-lee)
What causes flat head?
Baby’s head are relatively soft after birth. Placing your baby on one side or on baby’s back for prolonged periods of time can exert pressure on that side of the skull and cause it to be flat. The frequency of this cause of flat head has increased following the ‘back to sleep’ campaign.1 The other reason for flat head is early fusion of the connecting sutures in a baby’s skull bone. The connecting sutures should not be fused until after a few months. If they fuse earlier than they should, this could cause an abnormally shaped head.
1. Turk AE, McCarthy JG, Thorne CH, Wisoff JH. The "back to sleep campaign" and deformational plagiocephaly: is there cause for concern? J Craniofac Surg 1996; 7:12.
What can I do to prevent my baby from getting flat head?
- Frequent changes in baby’s sleeping position.
- Your baby’s head should be rotated everyday so that the baby doesn’t sleep facing the same side everyday.
- Don’t leave baby in car seat for prolonged periods of time.
- Visit your doctor early if you suspect that your baby’s head is abnormally flat.
What is used to treat flat head?
- Initial trial of frequent changes in sleeping position
- Use of infant head repositioning pillows like the beanie
- Customized cranial molding helmet
- Severe cases due to early fusion of sutures may require surgery if conservative measures fail or baby has high pressure in the brain.
- While most flat head won’t have any lasting harmful effects on your baby’s neurological development, some may cause persistently misshaped head or cause increased intracranial pressure. It is imperative to see your doctor if you are concerned about the shape of your babies head.