What Causes Flat Head Syndrome?: Understanding the Roots of Positional Plagiocephaly

What Causes Flat Head Syndrome?: Understanding the Roots of Positional Plagiocephaly
What Causes Flat Head Syndrome?: Understanding the Roots of Positional Plagiocephaly

Flat head syndrome, also known as positional plagiocephaly, is a common condition that affects many babies during their early months of life. It occurs when a baby's head becomes flattened on one side or at the back due to prolonged pressure in the same position. This can be caused by factors such as sleeping on the back, spending extended periods in infant devices like car seats and strollers, or having tight neck muscles known as torticollis. Let’s take a closer look at what causes flat head syndrome.

What Causes Flat Head Syndrome?

The primary cause of flat head syndrome is the baby's sleep position. Infants spend a significant amount of time sleeping on their backs, which can lead to flattening of the head. Premature babies are more susceptible to this condition due to their softer skulls and extended time spent in positions that restrict movement. Additionally, tight neck muscles can make it difficult for babies to turn their heads, which contributes to the development of flat spots.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Flat Head Syndrome?

Parents can easily identify flat head syndrome by observing specific signs and symptoms. These may include a visibly flattened area on the back or side of the baby's head, reduced hair growth in that region, and an uneven appearance of the ears and forehead. Severe cases of flat head syndrome may also result in an asymmetrical shape of the face and neck.

How is Flat Head Syndrome Diagnosed?

Doctors can typically diagnose flat head syndrome through a physical examination of the baby's head and neck. Treatment options often involve simple practices that parents can implement at home. These may include providing supervised tummy time for the baby to strengthen neck muscles, varying sleeping positions to encourage head movement, and limiting time spent in devices that restrict head mobility.

For babies with torticollis, a common contributor to flat head syndrome, physical therapy, and stretching exercises are recommended. These exercises help to elongate the neck muscles and improve neck mobility. In some cases, a doctor may suggest the use of a helmet to reshape the baby's head. Helmets are designed to apply gentle pressure to the flat areas of the head, promoting rounder growth over time.

What Should Parents Know?

It is important for parents to remember that flat head syndrome typically improves with time and natural growth. As babies become more mobile and change positions during sleep, the pressure on the head is reduced. Additionally, as the skull continues to grow, the flattening usually becomes less noticeable. While flat head syndrome does not impact brain growth, it can potentially delay early development if left untreated.

Flat Head Syndrome Can Be Overcome with Proper Care

Flat head syndrome is a common condition that many babies experience, but it can be effectively managed with proper care and attention. By implementing simple strategies like tummy time, varying sleeping positions, and seeking guidance from healthcare professionals, parents can help their babies overcome flat head syndrome and promote healthy development. Remember to consult your doctor for personalized advice and treatment options if you suspect your baby is affected by flat head syndrome.

How Tabeeze Can Help Babies Who Wear Helmets 

Tabeeze understands parents' challenges when their little ones require helmets for various reasons. Our innovative baby onesies are designed to make life easier for both you and your helmet-wearing baby. With unique shoulder snaps, onesies allow you to dress your baby from the bottom up, so you never have to squeeze their head through a tiny onesie again.