The ABCs of Plagiocephaly: A Mom’s Quick Guide

Head shape

As a parent, it’s natural to be concerned about your baby’s development, and one common issue that many parents worry about is plagiocephaly. If you’re not familiar with the term, don’t worry! This quick guide will walk you through everything you need to know about plagiocephaly, from what it is to how to prevent and treat it.

What is Plagiocephaly?

Plagiocephaly, also known as flat head syndrome, is a condition characterized by a flat spot on the back or side of a baby’s head. This can occur when a baby spends too much time lying in the same position, causing the skull to flatten in that area. While plagiocephaly is not harmful to a baby’s brain or development, it can cause concerns for parents about their child’s appearance.

Causes of Plagiocephaly

There are several factors that can contribute to the development of plagiocephaly, including:

  • Prolonged time spent in a car seat, bouncer, or other devices that put pressure on the back of the head

  • Preferential head turning, where a baby consistently rests its head on one side

  • Muscle tightness or torticollis, which can limit a baby’s ability to move its head freely

Preventing Plagiocephaly

While plagiocephaly is relatively common, there are steps you can take to help prevent it from occurring. These include:

  • Providing plenty of supervised tummy time when your baby is awake

  • Alternating the direction your baby’s head faces when lying down

  • Avoiding prolonged time in car seats, bouncers, and other devices that put pressure on the back of the head

Treating Plagiocephaly

If your baby does develop plagiocephaly, don’t worry! There are treatments available to help reshape your baby’s head. These may include:

  • Physical therapy to address muscle tightness or torticollis

  • Using a special helmet or band that gently applies pressure to reshape the skull


As a mom, it’s natural to worry about your baby’s health and development. By being aware of the causes of plagiocephaly and taking steps to prevent it, you can help ensure that your little one’s head stays healthy and round. And if plagiocephaly does occur, remember that there are effective treatments available to help your baby’s head take on its natural shape.


Q: Is plagiocephaly dangerous for my baby?

A: Plagiocephaly is not dangerous for your baby’s brain or development, but it can cause concerns about your child’s appearance.

Q: How can I encourage my baby to change head positions?

A: You can encourage your baby to change head positions by placing colorful toys or mobiles on different sides of the crib or play area to entice them to look in different directions.

Q: Will my baby need surgery for plagiocephaly?

A: Surgery is rarely needed for plagiocephaly. Most cases can be resolved with repositioning, physical therapy, or the use of a corrective helmet or band.