Flat Head Syndrome in Babies: A Cause of Concern



Infancy is a very crucial time in a child’s life. Smooth infancy leads to well developed young one. Proper care and nourishment during an infant’s initial stages can play a very important role in ensuring good health and overall well being of the young one.

Plagiocephaly, also known as the flattening of the head, is the syndrome characterized by the slight flattening of the skull on one side due to lying in the supine position for too long. This has been commonly found in infants, who, have soft skulls and might acquire plagiocephaly due to lying on their back for too long during their sleep. In fact, it has been found that almost half of the infants between the ages of 2 and 3 years suffer from positional plagiocephaly which is caused by sleeping in a particular position for too long. As per a study that was published in the journal of American Academy of Pediatrics, where in about 440 healthy infants aged between 7 to 12 weeks, attending a well child clinic in Calgary, Canada were examined. It was found that about 205, that is 46.6 percent of these infants showed some kind of a flat part on their heads. Of these 205 infants, 78.3 percent showed a mild form of placiocephaly while about 63.2 percent of the infants showed some sort of an effect on the right side of their brains.

Back in 1992, the AAP had recommended that the infants be made to sleep on their backs to cut down on the deaths caused by Sudden infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). This indeed has cut down the infant death due to SIDS by 50 percent but has increased the cases of flat spots on the heads of infants. To cut down on such instances, the AAP has made suggestions like, making the infant’s sleeping conditions safe, including the usage of firm, flat sleeping surfaces and keeping soft objects away from an infant’s crib.

The disorder, positional plagiocephaly is caused when the baby repeatedly sleeps in the same position, due to this; the head develops a flat spot. Also, the infants have a soft skull during the first year to allow proper development of the brain. The treatment for this disorder is generally easy and is not painful or life threatening. In most cases it can be easily cured by changing the position of the sleeping infant and also accustoming the infant to keep alternating or changing its position while sleeping on its backs.

The researchers feel that parents should be well informed and educated about this disorder so that they can prevent it from happening to their baby before the well child visit. They also inform that more research in this field would give a better idea of how plagiocephaly can affect older infants.

Thus, as of now, we can only suggest that parents should be a little careful, to maintain their infant’s well being and try to use the guidelines suggested by the author of the above study to prevent their babies from this disorder.

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