The ABCs of Positional Plagiocephaly: What Parents Should Know

Head shape

Welcome, parents! As you navigate the exciting journey of raising your little ones, you may come across certain terms and conditions that are new and unfamiliar. One of these is positional plagiocephaly, a common condition that can affect infants. In this article, we’ll explore the ABCs of positional plagiocephaly and what you need to know as a parent.

Understanding Positional Plagiocephaly

Positional plagiocephaly, also known as flat head syndrome, occurs when a baby’s head develops a flat spot due to external pressure. This can happen when a baby spends a lot of time lying on their back or favoring one side of their head. The soft bones of the skull are more malleable in infancy, making them susceptible to shaping abnormalities.

This condition is more common than you might think, with studies estimating that up to 50% of infants develop some degree of positional plagiocephaly. While it can be concerning for parents to notice their baby’s head shape changing, it’s important to know that positional plagiocephaly is typically not a cause for alarm.

Prevention and Management

There are several steps parents can take to prevent and manage positional plagiocephaly. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Encourage supervised tummy time when your baby is awake and alert. This helps to reduce the amount of time they spend lying on their back.

  • Alternate the side your baby sleeps on to prevent constant pressure on one area of their head.

  • Use a supportive mattress or pillow designed to distribute pressure evenly on your baby’s head.

  • Avoid prolonged time in car seats, carriers, or bouncers, as these can contribute to flattening of the head.

If you notice any signs of positional plagiocephaly, such as a visibly flat spot on your baby’s head, asymmetrical facial features, or difficulty turning their head in one direction, it’s important to consult with your pediatrician. They can provide guidance on how to address the condition and may recommend physical therapy or other interventions to help your baby.

Embracing Your Baby’s Development

It’s natural for parents to want the best for their children, and concerns about their health and development are completely understandable. However, it’s important to remember that a baby’s head shape is just one small part of their overall well-being. While taking steps to prevent and manage positional plagiocephaly is important, it’s equally important to enjoy and embrace the journey of parenthood.

Every baby is unique, and their individual growth and development may follow different paths. Celebrate each milestone and cherish the special moments you share with your little one. Remember that your love, care, and attention are the most valuable gifts you can give to your child.


As you learn about positional plagiocephaly and how to support your baby’s healthy development, keep in mind that you are not alone on this journey. Reach out to other parents, caregivers, and healthcare professionals for support and guidance. With the right information and resources at your disposal, you can feel empowered to provide the best possible care for your little one.


What causes positional plagiocephaly?

Positional plagiocephaly is caused by external pressure on a baby’s soft skull bones, often from spending prolonged time lying on their back or favoring one side of their head.

Can positional plagiocephaly be corrected?

In many cases, positional plagiocephaly resolves on its own as a baby grows and becomes more mobile. However, early intervention and guidance from a pediatrician may be recommended for severe cases.

Is tummy time really important for preventing positional plagiocephaly?

Yes, tummy time serves multiple purposes, including helping to prevent flat head syndrome by reducing the amount of time a baby spends lying on their back.