Pediatricians and other health professionals advocate back sleeping for prevention of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). Back sleeping has significantly decreased the incidence of SIDS. However, back sleeping may have increased the number of infants with flat head syndrome. Researchers are still researching the correlation. Regardless, because this condition is so common today, it’s important for parents and caregivers to know about it.
What is Flat Head Syndrome?
Flat head syndrome affects up to 50% of infants who sleep on their backs. Flat head syndrome is a common name for several conditions including brachycephaly (skull is flat and taller in the back), plagiocephaly (head is flat on one side) or scaphocephaly (long, narrow head). Infants with flat head syndrome will have a flattened area on their head. All flat spots should be evaluated by your child’s pediatrician. There is a condition called craniosynostosis (premature closing of the “soft spot”) that is more serious than the previously mentioned conditions. It is important that you rule out the possibility of craniosynostosis if you notice your baby’s head beginning to get flat areas.
What are some treatment options?
There are several treatment options that you and your pediatrician can discuss. Treatment will depend on the severity, exact condition and the age of the infant. Typically treatment will start with repositioning therapy and tummy time. If these options don’t work, then physical therapy may be needed. In more severe cases, your infant may need a helmet to help your child’s skull reshape properly. There are also several products on the market that are for helping infants with this condition and to help prevent it as well. The most important thing is to take action when your baby is as young as possible, or it can be too late to correct it.
Tummy time is important for newborns and infants to help develop their neck muscles. There are many play mats available for your child to play on and make tummy time more interesting and enjoyable for them.
Where Can I Learn More about Flat Head Syndrome?
To learn more about flat head syndrome, you can visit www.babyflathead.org. On this website you will find a lot of resources including reviews of products, information about safe sleep for infants, the latest news and research on this condition, and stories from other parents who have been through this with their babies.
About the Author:
Sarah is a 40-something mom to a 21 month-old boy who had flat head syndrome. Her blog advocates natural methods as a first option to treat flat head syndrome. Her blog has become a true passion of hers; she aims to make as much information available on this topic as possible.
Note- My Life: A Work in Progress was not compensated for this post.