New advice to prevent and correct flat head syndrome in babies
November 28th, 2011
07:51 AM ET

New advice to prevent and correct flat head syndrome in babies

Since 1992, when the American Academy of Pediatrics began recommending that babies sleep on their backs, the number of deaths due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS - the number one cause of death among infants younger than 1 year of age - has been cut in half, according to the CDC.

However, as the number of SIDS deaths have gone down, pediatricians have seen a dramatic increase in babies having flat head syndrome. About 13% of healthy infants have some form of positional plagiocephaly (which means "oblique head" in Greek).

"[Babies] spend almost all their time on their back," says pediatrician Dr. James Laughlin, "that leads to some positional flattening or molding of the head, depending on how the baby sleeps." 

The longer they do that during the first 2 to 4 months of life, the more likely they are to develop a flattening of the head, says Laughlin, who is the lead author of a new report designed to provide guidance for pediatricians to help prevent, diagnose and manage positional skull deformities in otherwise healthy children.

Most babies' heads are slightly asymmetrical. Their skulls are soft and made up of movable plates (which are necessary for baby to make it through the birth canal).  In between these plates are spaces, which allow the skull to expand so that the brain can grow. If the baby's head always rests on the same spot, the skull plates move in a way that leaves a flat spot, according to the NIH.

The AAP and NIH caution that even though having your baby sleep on its back can lead to a flattened head, parents should not stop placing babies on their backs to sleep.  Asymmetry of the skull when caused by positional molding doesn't cause developmental delays, says Laughlin. "This is cosmetic."

The new report, published in the journal Pediatrics on Monday, suggests that pediatricians should counsel new parents about how to avoid flat head syndrome when they bring their newborns in for their check-ups in the first 2 to 4 weeks of life.

Until a baby is one year old, doctors should also screen for skull deformities at every wellness visit.

Only if the flattening of the head worsens by the time baby is 6 months old and the infant has serious flat spots should head-molding helmets be considered, according to the new guidelines. "There is currently no evidence that molding helmets work any better than positioning for infants with mild or moderate skull deformity," according to the report.

Surgery should only be considered when all other options have been exhausted, and after consulting with a surgeon who specializes in these types of cases.

There are simple steps parents can take to prevent flat spots, and they can also be used to minimize the progression if a positional skull deformity has already developed:

– Increase "tummy" time, which is supervised time during the day when baby lies on its stomach.  A baby should spend at least 30 to 60 minutes a day on it's belly, something that can be done immediately after birth.  This will help develop neck and shoulder muscles, says Laughlin. It has also been shown to "enhance motor developmental scores," according to this new report.

–  The NIH recommends changing the direction your baby lies in the crib each week.  They say this change will encourage the baby to turn his or her head in different directions to avoid resting in the same position all the time.

– Some babies prefer to hold their head to one side. Laughlin suggests laying them down in a different way when they're awake, so they have something interesting to look at on the opposite side. If you have them in a car seat or sitting in something else, you can also change the position to make the baby look in the opposite direction.

– Parents may find their babies sleep well sitting in a car seat, but this is another way they can develop an asymmetrical shape, especially in the first 6 months of life.  So experts suggest babies shouldn't spend a prolonged period of time in a car seat (unless they are in a car of course) or bouncy seat.

– Cuddle!  The NIH says "getting cuddle time with the baby by holding him or her upright over one shoulder often during the day," is another way to prevent flat spots.

"In the majority of these cases, this will correct itself on its own, without any or only minimal intervention," says Laughlin. "Because more than half of infants will improve by 6 months of age, repositioning should be attempted as initial treatment.  In most cases, flat spots usually go away when a baby starts sitting up on its own.

soundoff (1,678 Responses)
  1. buy chloroquine phosphate

    hydroxychoriquin malarone hydroxychlor tab 200mg

    June 6, 2021 at 18:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. repair rv toilet

    This is the perfect web site for everyone who really wants to understand this topic. You understand a whole lot its almost hard to argue with you (not that I really would want toÖHaHa). You definitely put a new spin on a topic which has been discussed for ages. Excellent stuff, just great!


    June 6, 2021 at 19:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. blue sky rv insurance reviews


    June 7, 2021 at 02:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. 2010 Mercedes Sprinter Repair Panels


    June 7, 2021 at 02:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. MileSwa

    cialis buy cialis for free generic cialis india safe

    June 7, 2021 at 14:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. EncoxDev

    canada drugs viagra online schools for pharmacy technician Brand Levitra

    June 7, 2021 at 17:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. western union near me


    June 7, 2021 at 18:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. EncoxDev

    global rx pharmacy irvine ez pharmacy canadian neighborhood pharmacy

    June 7, 2021 at 20:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Start Error Mercedes Sprinter Repair

    Oh my goodness! Incredible article dude! Thanks, However I am going through difficulties with your RSS. I donít understand the reason why I cannot join it. Is there anyone else having similar RSS problems? Anybody who knows the answer can you kindly respond? Thanx!!


    June 7, 2021 at 22:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Diesel Sprinter Repair Near Me

    I used to be able to find good advice from your content.


    June 7, 2021 at 22:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. windshield repair orange county ca


    June 7, 2021 at 22:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. RV Awning Los Angeles

    bookmarked!!, I like your blog!


    June 7, 2021 at 22:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. travel trailer frame repair

    Right here is the right website for everyone who wants to understand this topic. You understand so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I really will need toÖHaHa). You certainly put a brand new spin on a subject which has been discussed for decades. Wonderful stuff, just great!


    June 8, 2021 at 12:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. chloroquine diphosphate

    hydroxychloroquine sulfate 200 chloroquine prophylaxis can hydroxychloroquine

    June 8, 2021 at 12:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. ZisseVed

    cialis without pres cialis treatment generic cialis daily

    June 8, 2021 at 12:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. CrulkAsd

    brand cialis cialis lilly 20mg cialis available in walgreens over counter??

    June 8, 2021 at 15:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. woodland hills body shop


    June 8, 2021 at 15:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. cloroquine protein

    long term effects of plaquenil chloroquine hydrochloride quinine for lupus

    June 8, 2021 at 16:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. progressive photo inspection near me

    You've made some decent points there. I looked on the net to learn more about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this site.


    June 8, 2021 at 17:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Zisseloh

    cialis with dapoxetine for sale cialis online paypal how difficult is it to get a prescription for cialis

    June 9, 2021 at 00:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Content Marketing Experts

    I like it when people come together and share views. Great site, keep it up!


    June 9, 2021 at 03:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. EncoxHtf

    30 mg cialis cialis cheapest prices cialis 5 milligrams

    June 9, 2021 at 08:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. ZisseVed

    cialis samples for healthcare professionals levitra or cialis which is better dapoxetine and cialis together

    June 9, 2021 at 08:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. MixGepay


    Jeden Gniewny Czlowiek (2021) – pelny FILM online
    Jeden Gniewny Czlowiek Caly FILM Video
    FILM Jeden Gniewny Czlowiek PL 720p
    Jeden Gniewny Czlowiek Cda Lektor PL
    Pobierz Jeden Gniewny Czlowiek (2021) FILM HDRip WEB-DLRip
    Obejrzyj caly FILM Jeden Gniewny Czlowiek (2021) do pobrania chomikuj

    June 9, 2021 at 10:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. MixGepay


    FILM Jeden Gniewny Czlowiek PL pl
    Jeden Gniewny Czlowiek Caly FILM 2021 Vider
    Jeden Gniewny Czlowiek Lektor PL Za Darmo
    Obejrzyj caly Moviedaily Motion Jeden Gniewny Czlowiek (2021) chomikuj
    Jeden Gniewny Czlowiek FILM Za Darmo
    Jeden Gniewny Czlowiek Za Free Online

    June 9, 2021 at 11:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Mendy Vaux

    I blog frequently and I truly thank you for your content. Your article has really peaked my interest. I will book mark your site and keep checking for new information about once a week. I opted in for your Feed too.


    June 9, 2021 at 11:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. MixGepay


    Jeden Gniewny Czlowiek Luknij Video
    FILM Jeden Gniewny Czlowiek PL lektor pl
    FILM Jeden Gniewny Czlowiek PL film online lektor
    FILM Jeden Gniewny Czlowiek PL youtube
    FILM Jeden Gniewny Czlowiek PL polski film
    Jeden Gniewny Czlowiek Caly FILM Cda

    June 9, 2021 at 11:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Kiyoko Gans


    June 9, 2021 at 11:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. MixGepay


    Obejrzyj caly FILM Jeden Gniewny Czlowiek (2021) do pobrania chomikuj
    FILM Jeden Gniewny Czlowiek PL 2021 download
    Jeden Gniewny Czlowiek Cinema City
    Jeden Gniewny Czlowiek Pelny FILM Za Free
    FILM Jeden Gniewny Czlowiek PL film online lektor
    Jeden Gniewny Czlowiek Pelny FILM Za Free

    June 9, 2021 at 11:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. MixGepay


    Jeden Gniewny Czlowiek (2021) caly FILM do obejrzenia Zobacz pelny FILM chomikuj
    Jeden Gniewny Czlowiek Vider 2021
    Jeden Gniewny Czlowiek Vider FILM
    Jeden Gniewny Czlowiek Luknij Video
    Jeden Gniewny Czlowiek Caly FILM CDA ALTERNATYWA LUKNIJ.VIDEO HD 1080p
    Jeden Gniewny Czlowiek Cinema City

    June 9, 2021 at 11:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. MixGepay


    Pobierz Jeden Gniewny Czlowiek (2021) FILM HDRip WEB-DLRip
    Jeden Gniewny Czlowiek Vider
    Jeden Gniewny Czlowiek Video On Demand
    Jeden Gniewny Czlowiek Za Free ONLINE 2021
    Jeden Gniewny Czlowiek Luknij Video
    Jeden Gniewny Czlowiek Przeciek FILMu

    June 9, 2021 at 12:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. MixGepay


    Ogladaj Za Free Jeden Gniewny Czlowiek
    Jeden Gniewny Czlowiek Zwiastun
    Pobierz FILM Jeden Gniewny Czlowiek (2021) FILM Jeden Gniewny Czlowiek
    Za Free Jeden Gniewny Czlowiek Online
    Jeden Gniewny Czlowiek Caly FILM Video
    (2021) Caly FILM Ogladaj online Wonder Woman

    June 9, 2021 at 12:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. MixGepay


    Jeden Gniewny Czlowiek Vider
    Jeden Gniewny Czlowiek Za Free ONLINE 2021
    Jeden Gniewny Czlowiek FILM
    Jeden Gniewny Czlowiek Cinema City
    Jeden Gniewny Czlowiek Za Darmo Pobieraj PL
    Jak oglądać Jeden Gniewny Czlowiek?

    June 9, 2021 at 12:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. MixGepay


    Jeden Gniewny Czlowiek Caly FILM 2021 Vider
    Jeden Gniewny Czlowiek Luknij Video
    Jeden Gniewny Czlowiek Caly FILM Netflix
    Obejrzyj pelny spoiler FILMu Jeden Gniewny Czlowiek (2021) chomikuj
    Jeden Gniewny Czlowiek Online Ogladaj Za Friko
    Ogladaj Za Free Jeden Gniewny Czlowiek

    June 9, 2021 at 13:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Zisseloh

    common side effects of cialis cialis side effects blood pressure viagra vs cialis/strong>

    June 9, 2021 at 14:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Digital Marketing Consultants

    Nice post. I learn something totally new and challenging on websites I stumbleupon every day. It's always useful to read content from other authors and practice a little something from their web sites.


    June 9, 2021 at 16:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. MileSwa

    cialis premature ejaculation cialis daily cialis prescription online

    June 9, 2021 at 18:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Nicolasa Shortridge


    June 9, 2021 at 18:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. EncoxHtf

    cialis generic timeline 2018 cheap brand cialis 20 mg cialis lasts how long

    June 9, 2021 at 18:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Altagracia Donaby

    I have to thank you for the efforts you have put in writing this blog. I'm hoping to view the same high-grade blog posts from you later on as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has motivated me to get my own, personal blog now 😉

    June 9, 2021 at 22:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Merri Speros

    May I simply say what a comfort to discover someone who really knows what they are talking about on the internet. You definitely understand how to bring a problem to light and make it important. More and more people have to check this out and understand this side of the story. I was surprised you are not more popular given that you most certainly possess the gift.


    June 9, 2021 at 22:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. EncoxAni

    cialis pharmacy online pharmacy degree online Frumil

    June 9, 2021 at 22:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. rv repair shop near me


    June 10, 2021 at 00:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Christi Stockebrand


    June 10, 2021 at 02:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. rv repair


    June 10, 2021 at 09:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Florentina Wanty

    This is the perfect web site for everyone who would like to find out about this topic. You realize a whole lot its almost tough to argue with you (not that I actually would want toÖHaHa). You certainly put a brand new spin on a topic that's been written about for a long time. Excellent stuff, just great!


    June 10, 2021 at 09:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Kurtis Mcfetridge

    I quite like reading an article that will make people think. Also, thank you for permitting me to comment!


    June 10, 2021 at 09:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Dennise Navarra


    June 10, 2021 at 16:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. rv repair service near me


    June 10, 2021 at 18:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Read More Here

    It¡¦s really a great and helpful piece of information. I¡¦m satisfied that you shared this helpful information with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.


    June 10, 2021 at 20:17 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34

Leave a Reply to buy zithromax online uk


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.