Understanding Plagiocephaly: How to Prevent and Treat Flat Head Syndrome in Babies

Head shape

As a parent, one of the most important responsibilities is to ensure the health and wellbeing of your baby. Unfortunately, many babies today are diagnosed with plagiocephaly, also known as flat head syndrome. This condition occurs when a baby’s head develops a flat spot due to external pressure. While it may be concerning, there are ways to prevent and treat plagiocephaly. Let’s take a closer look at this condition and how you can safeguard your baby’s head shape.

What is Plagiocephaly?

Plagiocephaly is a condition characterized by the flattening of one side of the head, resulting in an asymmetrical appearance. This can occur when a baby spends a significant amount of time lying on their back, which is recommended to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). While this sleeping position is crucial for your baby’s safety, it can also lead to flat head syndrome if not monitored carefully.

Prevention of Plagiocephaly

There are several measures you can take to prevent plagiocephaly in your baby. First and foremost, it’s essential to give your baby plenty of supervised tummy time when they are awake. This not only helps to strengthen their neck and shoulder muscles but also reduces the amount of time they spend on their back. Additionally, consider alternating the direction in which your baby’s head faces in the crib to prevent them from consistently resting on the same spot.

Furthermore, babywearing is an excellent way to limit the amount of time your baby spends lying down. Using a front carrier or sling allows your baby to be in an upright position while still receiving the comfort and closeness they need. Lastly, be mindful of how much time your baby spends in car seats, bouncers, and other devices that keep them in a supine position for extended periods.

Treatment of Plagiocephaly

If you notice flattening on one side of your baby’s head, it’s important to consult with your pediatrician. They can assess the severity of the condition and recommend appropriate treatment. In many cases, repositioning techniques and physical therapy exercises can help reshape your baby’s head. Additionally, specialized helmets or band therapy may be prescribed for more severe cases of plagiocephaly.

Repositioning involves changing your baby’s position during sleep and playtime to reduce pressure on the affected area. Your pediatrician or a physical therapist can guide you on the specific techniques to implement. If a helmet or band is recommended, it’s crucial to follow the instructions provided by the healthcare professionals to ensure the best results for your baby.


Plagiocephaly, or flat head syndrome, is a common condition that can be prevented and treated with the right measures. By incorporating supervised tummy time, alternating your baby’s head position, and limiting the time they spend lying down, you can reduce the risk of plagiocephaly. If needed, seek professional guidance to address the condition and explore treatment options tailored to your baby’s specific needs.


1. Can I use pillows or positioning devices to prevent plagiocephaly?

It is not recommended to use pillows or positioning devices in the crib, as they can pose a suffocation hazard for your baby. It’s best to rely on supervised tummy time and repositioning techniques recommended by healthcare professionals.

2. Will plagiocephaly affect my baby’s development?

In most cases, plagiocephaly does not cause developmental delays. However, if you have concerns, consult with your pediatrician to address any potential impacts on your baby’s development.

3. How long will it take for my baby’s head to reshape with repositioning techniques?

The timeframe for head reshaping varies for each baby and depends on the severity of the condition. Consistent implementation of repositioning techniques, along with guidance from healthcare providers, is key to achieving positive results.