Plagiocephaly: Understanding and Preventing Flat Head Syndrome in Infants

Head shape

As a parent, it’s natural to want the best for your baby. This includes ensuring their health and wellbeing, which can sometimes mean being aware of potential issues such as plagiocephaly, also known as flat head syndrome. Plagiocephaly is a condition where a baby’s head develops a flat spot, often due to extended periods of time spent in the same position. In this article, we’ll discuss what plagiocephaly is, how to prevent it, and provide tips for managing it if your baby is affected.

Understanding Plagiocephaly

Plagiocephaly can occur when a baby’s head is subjected to prolonged pressure on one area, resulting in a flattening of that spot. This flattening can cause asymmetry in the head shape, and in some cases, may also affect the alignment of the baby’s ears or facial features. While plagiocephaly doesn’t typically cause pain or developmental delays, it is important to address it to prevent long-term issues with head shape and appearance.

Preventing Plagiocephaly

Fortunately, there are steps parents can take to help prevent plagiocephaly. One of the most important things is to make sure your baby has plenty of supervised tummy time when they are awake. This not only helps to prevent flat spots from developing but also strengthens their neck and shoulder muscles. Additionally, using a variety of holding positions, providing frequent opportunities for movement and repositioning your baby during sleep can all contribute to preventing plagiocephaly. It’s also important to remember that babies should always sleep on their backs to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), but you can alternate the direction their head faces each time you put them down to sleep.

Managing Plagiocephaly

If despite your efforts, your baby develops plagiocephaly, there are still steps you can take to manage the condition. Your pediatrician may recommend specific positioning techniques or exercises to help correct the flattening. In some cases, they may also suggest the use of a specialized helmet or band that can help reshape your baby’s head over time. It’s important to follow your pediatrician’s guidance and not to attempt any interventions without their approval.


Understanding plagiocephaly and taking steps to prevent it is an important part of caring for your baby’s health and wellbeing. By incorporating tummy time, frequent repositioning, and other preventative measures, you can help reduce the risk of your baby developing a flat head. If plagiocephaly does occur, working closely with your pediatrician can help ensure that your baby receives the appropriate care and interventions to promote healthy head shape development.


Q: How long should my baby have tummy time each day?

A: It’s recommended to start with a few minutes of tummy time a few times a day, gradually increasing to a total of 60 minutes by the time your baby is three months old.

Q: Will my baby’s plagiocephaly correct itself over time?

A: In some cases, mild plagiocephaly may improve on its own as your baby grows and becomes more mobile. However, it’s best to consult with your pediatrician to determine the best course of action for your baby.