Positional Plagiocephaly 101: What Every Parent Should Know

Head shape

What is Positional Plagiocephaly?

Positional plagiocephaly, also known as flat head syndrome, is a condition where a baby’s head develops a flat spot due to prolonged pressure in one area. This can happen when a baby spends a lot of time lying on their back, such as during sleep or while in a car seat or stroller.

Prevention and Treatment

There are several ways to prevent and treat positional plagiocephaly. One of the most important measures is to give your baby plenty of tummy time when they are awake and supervised. This helps to relieve the pressure on the back of the head and allows the baby to develop strong neck and shoulder muscles. You can also try alternating the direction your baby’s head faces in the crib each night, and using a firm mattress and avoiding extended time in car seats or strollers.

When to Seek Help

If you notice a flat spot developing on your baby’s head, it’s important to talk to your pediatrician. They can provide guidance on repositioning techniques and exercises to help improve the shape of your baby’s head. In more severe cases, a specialized helmet may be recommended to help reshape the skull.


Positional plagiocephaly is a common condition that can be effectively prevented and treated with the right interventions. By practicing safe sleep habits, providing plenty of supervised tummy time, and seeking guidance from a pediatrician when needed, parents can help their babies develop healthy head shapes.


Q: Is it safe for my baby to sleep on their tummy to prevent flat head syndrome?

A: While tummy time is important for preventing flat head syndrome, it’s essential for babies to sleep on their backs to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Q: Will my baby need a helmet if they develop positional plagiocephaly?

A: In mild cases, repositioning techniques and exercises may be sufficient to improve the shape of your baby’s head. In more severe cases, a specialized helmet may be recommended by a pediatrician.