5 Myths About Positional Plagiocephaly Debunked

Head shape

Myth #1: Positional Plagiocephaly is Just a Cosmetic Issue

Many parents believe that positional plagiocephaly, also known as flat head syndrome, is only a cosmetic issue that will eventually correct itself. However, the reality is that severe cases of plagiocephaly can lead to developmental delays and issues with vision and hearing. It is important to address plagiocephaly early to prevent potential long-term effects on a child’s development.

Myth #2: Plagiocephaly is Caused by Sleeping on the Back

While the Back to Sleep campaign has significantly reduced the occurrence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), some parents worry that placing their baby on their back to sleep will cause or worsen plagiocephaly. In reality, there are many factors that contribute to plagiocephaly, including prenatal positioning, birth trauma, and positioning during the day. It’s important for parents to be aware of these factors and to implement strategies to prevent and treat plagiocephaly.

Myth #3: Plagiocephaly Helmets are Uncomfortable and Ineffective

There is a misconception that plagiocephaly helmets are uncomfortable for babies and do not effectively correct the shape of the head. In truth, the helmets are custom-made to fit the baby’s head and are designed to gently guide the head into a more symmetrical shape over time. Research has shown that helmet therapy can be an effective treatment for moderate to severe cases of plagiocephaly when used under the guidance of a qualified healthcare provider.

Myth #4: Tummy Time is Sufficient to Prevent and Treat Plagiocephaly

While tummy time is important for strengthening neck and shoulder muscles and preventing flat spots on the back of the head, it is not always sufficient to completely prevent or treat plagiocephaly. Some babies may need additional interventions, such as repositioning techniques, physical therapy, or helmet therapy, to correct the shape of their heads. It’s essential for parents to consult with a healthcare provider if they have concerns about their baby’s head shape.

Myth #5: Once a Child Can Sit Up, Plagiocephaly Will Resolve on Its Own

Another common myth is that once a baby is able to sit up and spend less time on their back, plagiocephaly will naturally resolve on its own. While reducing the amount of time spent on the back can help, it may not fully correct the head shape. It’s important for parents to continue monitoring the shape of their child’s head and seek professional advice if they have any concerns.


Positional plagiocephaly, or flat head syndrome, is a common condition that can have long-term effects on a child’s development if left untreated. It’s important for parents to be aware of the myths surrounding plagiocephaly and to seek guidance from healthcare providers if they have concerns about their baby’s head shape.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How can I prevent plagiocephaly in my baby?

A: It’s important to provide supervised tummy time, change the direction in which the baby sleeps, and vary the baby’s position during the day to prevent constant pressure on one area of the head.

Q: When should I seek treatment for my baby’s plagiocephaly?

A: If you notice flattening or asymmetry in your baby’s head shape, or if you have concerns about their development, it’s best to consult with a healthcare provider as soon as possible.