Plagiocephaly in Babies: What Parents Need to Know


As a parent, it’s natural to want the best for your baby, including their health and well-being. One condition that may cause concern for parents is plagiocephaly, also known as flat head syndrome. Here’s what you need to know about this common condition and how to address it.

What is Plagiocephaly?

Plagiocephaly is a condition characterized by an asymmetrical or flattened head shape in infants. It can occur when a baby’s head is subjected to prolonged pressure in one area, such as when they consistently lie on the same side of their head. This pressure can cause the skull to flatten or become misshapen, leading to a noticeable difference in head shape.

Causes of Plagiocephaly

There are several factors that can contribute to the development of plagiocephaly in babies. These include:

  • Prolonged periods of time spent lying on their back

  • Being born premature, which can result in a softer skull

  • Multiple birth pregnancies, which may lead to limited space in the uterus

  • Neck muscle tightness or torticollis, which can limit a baby’s ability to move their head freely

Prevention and Treatment

While plagiocephaly is common, there are steps parents can take to prevent and address it. These include:

  • Supervised tummy time to reduce pressure on the back of the head

  • Encouraging a variety of head positions when the baby is awake

  • Using repositioning techniques recommended by healthcare professionals

  • Consulting with a pediatrician or specialist to explore treatment options, such as physical therapy or specialized helmets

Emotional Impact

It’s natural for parents to feel concerned or anxious if their baby is diagnosed with plagiocephaly. However, it’s important to remember that the condition is usually not a cause for alarm and can be effectively addressed with the appropriate interventions. Seeking support from healthcare professionals and connecting with other parents who have experienced similar challenges can also be beneficial.


Plagiocephaly is a common condition in babies, but it’s important for parents to be aware of the causes, prevention strategies, and available treatments. By staying informed and proactive, parents can help ensure their baby’s head shape develops appropriately. Remember, every baby is unique, and seeking guidance from healthcare professionals is an important step in addressing plagiocephaly.


Q: Can plagiocephaly cause long-term complications for my baby?

A: In most cases, plagiocephaly does not lead to long-term complications. With appropriate interventions, the head shape typically improves as the baby grows.

Q: Will my baby need to wear a helmet for plagiocephaly?

A: In some cases, healthcare professionals may recommend a specialized helmet to help reshape the baby’s head. However, this is not always necessary, and other interventions may be explored first.

Q: How can I encourage my baby to enjoy tummy time?

A: Gradually introducing short periods of supervised tummy time when your baby is awake can help them become more comfortable in this position. Using engaging toys or activities can also make tummy time more enjoyable for your baby.