Recently, the journal “Pediatrics” released new guidelines for Pediatricians and parents on how to prevent and correct flat head syndrome. The number of babies diagnosed with flat head syndrome (aka positional plagiocephaly) has increased significantly since the safe sleep campaign (established in 1994) have babies spending more time on their backs. These new guidelines are not to replace the safe sleep practices, they are simply ways to prevent misshapen heads.
Here are some of the guidelines parents can practice at home:
1. Increase tummy time – 30 to 60 minutes per day starting from birth.
2. Change the direction your baby lies in the crib each week – the change will encourage your baby to turn their head in different directions.
3. Some babies prefer to look in a certain direction so provide other things for them to look at on the opposite side.
4. Do not allow your babies to spend too much time in the car seat or bouncy seat – no more than necessary because it can lead misshapen heads.
5. Cuddle more- holding your baby upright means less time for them to be on their back.
If your baby is diagnosed with flat head, there are a few things your Pediatrician will do to correct it. First of all your Pediatrician will talk to you about flat head syndrome in the first month of life and they should screen for it at all wellness appointments until one year old. If flat head symptoms gets worse by 6 months then the doctor my prescribe a helmet. The most extreme option to corrected flat head is surgery but that will only be considered after all other options have not worked.