Understanding Plagiocephaly: What Every Parent Should Know

Plagiocephaly, also known as flat head syndrome, is a condition that affects many infants. It occurs when a baby’s head develops a flat spot either on one side or at the back. This can happen due to the baby spending too much time in one position, such as lying on their back or being carried in the same position for extended periods of time.

As a parent, it’s important to understand what plagiocephaly is, how it can be prevented, and what treatment options are available if your child develops the condition. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

What Causes Plagiocephaly?

Plagiocephaly is often the result of external forces on a baby’s soft skull. This can occur if the baby consistently sleeps in the same position or spends prolonged periods in a car seat, swing, or carrier. It can also be a result of limited movement of the neck muscles, known as torticollis, which can lead to a preference for looking in one direction.


There are several steps you can take to help prevent plagiocephaly in your baby. These include giving your baby plenty of tummy time while they are awake, alternating the side your baby lies on during sleep, and minimizing the time spent in certain baby gear that can put pressure on the skull.

Treatment Options

If your child does develop plagiocephaly, there are treatment options available to help reshape their head. These may include physical therapy to address torticollis, repositioning techniques, and in some cases, the use of a custom helmet to help mold the baby’s head into a more symmetrical shape.

Seeking Professional Advice

If you have concerns about the shape of your baby’s head, it’s important to seek professional advice from your pediatrician or a specialist. They can provide guidance on the best course of action and help address any underlying issues that may be contributing to the plagiocephaly.


Plagiocephaly is a common and treatable condition that affects many infants. By taking proactive steps to prevent it and seeking professional advice if necessary, you can help ensure the healthy development of your child’s head shape. Remember to provide plenty of tummy time, vary your baby’s sleeping position, and seek guidance from healthcare professionals if you have concerns about plagiocephaly.


How common is plagiocephaly?

Plagiocephaly is relatively common, affecting many infants to varying degrees. With proper awareness and preventive measures, it can often be addressed effectively.

At what age does plagiocephaly typically become noticeable?

Plagiocephaly may become noticeable in the first few months of a baby’s life as the skull shape becomes more apparent. This is why it’s important to be vigilant about preventive measures early on.

Is plagiocephaly a serious condition?

In most cases, plagiocephaly is not a serious medical condition and can be treated effectively with repositioning techniques, physical therapy, and in some cases, a corrective helmet. However, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional if you have concerns about your baby’s head shape.