The Importance of Tummy Time for Preventing Positional Plagiocephaly

Head shape

As a parent, you want to make sure you are doing everything you can to ensure the health and development of your child. One important aspect of this is implementing tummy time as part of your baby’s daily routine. Tummy time refers to the time your baby spends on their stomach while they are awake and supervised. This simple activity has numerous benefits, one of which is preventing positional plagiocephaly, also known as flat head syndrome.

What is positional plagiocephaly?

Positional plagiocephaly occurs when a baby’s head develops a flat spot due to prolonged time spent in one position. This can happen when babies spend a lot of time lying on their backs, such as during sleep or while in a car seat or stroller. With the recent “back to sleep” campaign to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), many babies are spending more time on their backs, which has led to an increase in the cases of positional plagiocephaly.

How does tummy time help prevent positional plagiocephaly?

When your baby is placed on their stomach during tummy time, it helps to relieve pressure from the back of their head. This encourages the natural rounding of the skull and reduces the risk of developing a flat spot. Tummy time also helps to strengthen the muscles in your baby’s neck, shoulders, and trunk, which are important for achieving developmental milestones such as crawling and sitting.

When should you start tummy time?

It’s recommended to start tummy time as soon as you bring your baby home from the hospital. Begin with just a few minutes at a time, a few times a day, and gradually work up to a total of 60 minutes by the time your baby is 3 months old. Remember to always supervise your baby during tummy time and never leave them unattended.

Tips for successful tummy time

  • Choose a time when your baby is awake and alert, but not directly after a feeding when they may be uncomfortable.

  • Use a blanket or play mat on the floor to provide a soft surface for your baby to rest on.

  • Get down on the floor with your baby to keep them company and make tummy time more enjoyable.

  • Place toys and colorful objects in front of your baby to encourage them to lift their head and look around.


Implementing tummy time into your baby’s daily routine is crucial for their overall development and can help prevent positional plagiocephaly. Not only does tummy time promote a healthy head shape, but it also strengthens your baby’s muscles and aids in achieving important developmental milestones. Remember to start tummy time early, be consistent, and always supervise your baby during this activity. By doing so, you are setting the stage for a healthy and active baby!


1. Is it normal for my baby to dislike tummy time?

It’s normal for some babies to initially resist tummy time, but with patience and consistency, most babies learn to tolerate and even enjoy it. Start with short sessions and gradually increase the duration as your baby gets more comfortable.

2. What if my baby falls asleep during tummy time?

If your baby falls asleep during tummy time, gently move them onto their back to continue their nap. It’s important to always follow safe sleep practices recommended by pediatricians.

3. My baby has already developed a flat spot on their head, is it too late to start tummy time?

It’s never too late to start tummy time. Even if your baby already has a flat spot, tummy time can help prevent it from getting worse and promote healthy development.

4. How can I make tummy time more enjoyable for my baby?

Engage with your baby during tummy time by getting down on the floor with them, using colorful toys and objects to encourage them to lift their head and look around, and providing verbal encouragement and praise. Making it a fun and interactive experience can help your baby develop a positive association with tummy time.