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Flat head syndrome

 
Does your baby have flat head syndrome, also known as positional plagiocephaly? We take a look at some of the causes, treatment and tips on how to prevent flat syndrome. As well as ways to improve your baby’s posture, balance and head control, and encouraging natural correction of their head shape.
Does your baby have flat head syndrome, also known as positional plagiocephaly?

We take a look at some of the causes, treatment and tips on how to prevent flat syndrome. As well as ways to improve your baby’s posture, balance and head control, and encouraging natural correction of their head shape.
 

Causes of flat head syndrome


Positional plagiocephaly also known as flat head syndrome is a condition characterised by a flattening on one side of the back of a baby's head.

It commonly occurs after a baby is born when their skull is still malleable and can be shaped by external forces, particularly if they continue to lie in one position for a long period of time.

For example, if a baby lies in a cot or on a mat with their head in the same position for a long time, their head can start to become flattened.
 

Treatment of flat head syndrome


If a baby's head becomes misshapen in this way it will usually correct itself during their first year.

Sometimes the condition gets worse before it gets better, but there are generally no health problems associated with flat head syndrome.

The majority of babies recover from flat head syndrome naturally.

Try to reposition your baby's head as much as possible and encourage them to rest their head on the non-flattened area.

Special moulding helmets are available to treat severe positional plagiocephaly, but at the moment there is not much evidence to support how effective they are. The helmets are also not suitable for babies under 3-4 months old.

Consult with your GP or medical practitioner if you have any concerns.
 

9 Tips to help prevent flat head syndrome


Each of these tips will help to improve your baby’s posture, balance and head control and encourage natural correction of their head shape.

1. Try to reduce the amount of time your baby spends resting their head in the same position.

2. Turn their head so that it is not lying on the flattened side.

3. When your baby is lying down, position their head so the pressure is on the least flattened side.

4. If your baby prefers to lie on one side, encourage them to turn around by placing a mobile or a picture on the other side.

5. Try to ensure that their cot mattress is firm and made of natural fibre.

6. Carry your baby in a baby sling to allow them to be upright without putting too much pressure on any one part of their head

7. Sit your baby on your knee, in a baby bouncer or in a high chair.

8. At night time consider alternating the end of the cot where your baby lays their head.

9. Try to minimise the amount of time your little one spends in their car seat or buggy, resting their head against a hard surface.
 

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Image source: flatheadsyndrome.org.uk
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