Posts Tagged ‘flat head’

Avoiding Flat Head

Friday, May 8th, 2015

Avoiding Flat HeadWhen my son was a baby, a mom friend of mine with a son the same age noticed her baby’s head seemed to be developing a flat spot. She was concerned and took him to her pediatrician; turns out, they recommended he be fitted for a helmet that would reshape his head. This was totally new to me. I had never even heard of this, let alone see a baby wearing one.

I found out then that it’s not terribly uncommon. Flat head, or plagiocephaly, cases have gone up since pediatricians began recommending babies be put to sleep on their backs (for SIDS reduction). Babies can develop them if they sleep in one position for a long time, or even from their car seats. They form because babies are born with very pliable skulls, and the skulls will mold to where they feel pressure (this is also why babies born vaginally often have cone-shaped heads for a bit after they’re born).

If you notice your child has a flat spot, you definitely want to bring it up with your pediatrician. The upside to babies having those pliable skulls is that in mild cases, they can resolve on their own with parents taking precautions, and in more significant cases can be treated with occupational therapy and/or an orthotic helmet or headband like my friend’s son had.

So how do you avoid this? Having your baby lay in a variety of positions each day is important. Tummy time not only builds your baby’s strength, it also gives the back of her head a break from resting against a flat surface. Baby wearing is also a great way to give the back of your child’s head a break. Reducing the amount of time your child is in a carseat can help, and turning your child’s head alternating directions when you lay them down on their backs to sleep helps, too. And remember, the earlier you catch it, the easier it is to correct.

Meaghan Howard is a mom to two little boys, ages 3 and 6. She’s currently enjoying the expat life in Japan.