The Complete Guide to Positional Plagiocephaly in Babies

What is Positional Plagiocephaly in Babies?

Positional plagiocephaly, also known as flat head syndrome, is a condition where a baby’s head develops a flat spot due to external pressures on the skull. This can happen when a baby spends too much time lying in one position, causing the skull to flatten in that area.

Causes of Positional Plagiocephaly

The primary cause of positional plagiocephaly is prolonged pressure on the baby’s skull. This can occur if the baby consistently lies on their back or spends a lot of time in car seats, swings, or other devices that put pressure on the head. As a result, the soft bones of the baby’s skull can become flattened in areas that bear the most weight, leading to a characteristic asymmetrical head shape.

Prevention and Treatment

Preventing positional plagiocephaly involves varying your baby’s positions throughout the day, encouraging tummy time while they are awake, and avoiding excessive time in car seats or swings. If your baby develops a flat spot, there are various treatment options available, including repositioning techniques, specialized pillows or cushions, and physical therapy. In some cases, a baby may require a helmet or cranial orthosis to help reshape the skull.

Importance of Early Intervention

It’s important to address positional plagiocephaly early on, as the baby’s skull is still soft and pliable, making it easier to reshape. Delaying treatment may result in the need for more invasive interventions or lead to long-term asymmetry in the shape of the head.

Myths and Misconceptions

There are several myths and misconceptions surrounding positional plagiocephaly, including the belief that it will naturally correct itself as the baby grows. While some cases may improve with time, many require intervention to ensure proper skull and brain development.


Positional plagiocephaly is a common condition that can be prevented and effectively treated with early intervention. By being mindful of your baby’s positions and seeking treatment if necessary, you can ensure that their head develops properly and symmetrically.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How can I prevent positional plagiocephaly in my baby?

A: You can prevent positional plagiocephaly by varying your baby’s positions, encouraging tummy time, and limiting the amount of time they spend in devices that put pressure on their head.

Q: Will my baby need to wear a helmet if they develop positional plagiocephaly?

A: Not all babies with positional plagiocephaly require a helmet. Treatment options vary depending on the severity of the condition and should be discussed with a pediatrician.

Q: Is positional plagiocephaly a serious condition?

A: While it is not typically a serious medical condition, addressing positional plagiocephaly early can help prevent long-term head shape asymmetry and potential developmental issues.