Preventing and Treating Positional Plagiocephaly in Babies

Head shape

As a parent, you want to ensure that your baby grows up healthy and strong. However, sometimes certain conditions can develop that require a little extra attention, such as positional plagiocephaly. This condition, also known as flat head syndrome, occurs when a baby’s head develops a flat spot due to prolonged pressure on one part of the skull.

Preventing and treating positional plagiocephaly in babies is important to ensure proper head development and to avoid any potential long-term issues. Here, we’ll discuss some tips for preventing positional plagiocephaly and options for treating it if it does develop.

Preventing Positional Plagiocephaly

Prevention is key when it comes to positional plagiocephaly. Here are some tips to help reduce the risk of your baby developing a flat spot on their head:

1. Tummy Time

Encouraging your baby to spend time on their tummy while they are awake and supervised can help prevent the development of a flat spot on the back of their head. This also helps strengthen their neck and shoulder muscles.

2. Change Positions

Try to vary your baby’s position when they are lying down. You can do this by changing the direction that they lie in their crib or bassinet each night, or by using a baby carrier or sling during the day instead of always using a bouncer or swing.

3. Limit Time in Car Seats and Swings

Prolonged time spent in car seats, swings, and other devices that put pressure on the back of the head should be limited. Use these devices when necessary, but be mindful of the amount of time your baby spends in them.

4. Proper Holding and Carrying

When holding or carrying your baby, try to alternate the side of your body that you hold them on. This helps reduce the amount of pressure on one side of their head.

Treating Positional Plagiocephaly

If despite your best efforts, your baby develops positional plagiocephaly, there are treatment options available:

1. Repositioning

Changing the position your baby sleeps in and providing more supervised tummy time during the day can help to alleviate the pressure on the flat spot and promote more rounded head shape.

2. Physical Therapy

In some cases, physical therapy may be recommended to help your baby improve their neck strength and range of motion, which can help correct the flat spot.

3. Helmet Therapy

In more severe cases, your pediatrician may recommend helmet therapy. This involves your baby wearing a specially fitted helmet that helps to gently shape their head as it grows.


Positional plagiocephaly, or flat head syndrome, is a common condition that can be prevented and treated with the right strategies. By ensuring your baby gets plenty of tummy time, changing their positions regularly, and seeking treatment if necessary, you can help promote proper head development and prevent long-term issues.


Q: Is positional plagiocephaly a serious condition?

A: In most cases, positional plagiocephaly is not serious and can be treated with repositioning and other techniques. However, in some cases, it may require more intensive treatment such as helmet therapy. It’s important to discuss any concerns with your pediatrician.

Q: How long does it take to see improvement with repositioning?

A: With consistent repositioning and increased tummy time, you may start to see improvement in your baby’s head shape within a few weeks. However, every baby is different, so it’s important to be patient and continue these strategies as recommended by your pediatrician.