The Truth About Positional Plagiocephaly and Your Baby

Head shape

As a parent, it’s natural to want the best for your baby, and that includes ensuring their health and well-being. One concern that many parents have is the development of positional plagiocephaly, commonly known as flat head syndrome. This condition occurs when a baby’s head develops a flat spot due to prolonged pressure on one area of the skull.

While it can be alarming to notice changes in your baby’s head shape, it’s important to understand the truth about positional plagiocephaly and how to address it.

Understanding the Causes

Positional plagiocephaly often develops in infants who spend a lot of time in one position, such as lying on their backs. This can occur when babies consistently sleep in the same position or spend excessive time in car seats, swings, or bouncers. The soft bones of a baby’s skull can be molded by pressure, leading to the development of a flat spot.

Prevention and Management

There are steps that parents can take to prevent positional plagiocephaly and manage its effects. Encouraging tummy time while the baby is awake, changing the direction in which the baby sleeps, and limiting time in restrictive devices can help reduce the risk of developing a flat head.

If positional plagiocephaly does occur, there are non-invasive treatments available. Repositioning techniques, such as adjusting the baby’s head position while they sleep, can help reshape the skull. In some cases, pediatric physical therapy or specialized helmets may be recommended to correct the head shape.

Seeking Professional Guidance

If you have concerns about your baby’s head shape or development, it’s important to seek guidance from a pediatrician or a specialist. They can provide an accurate assessment of the situation and recommend appropriate steps to address any issues.


Positional plagiocephaly is a common concern for parents, but with the right knowledge and proactive measures, it can be effectively managed. By understanding the causes, taking preventive steps, and seeking professional guidance when needed, parents can promote healthy head development for their babies.


Q: Can I prevent my baby from developing positional plagiocephaly?

A: While it’s not always possible to prevent flat head syndrome, you can reduce the risk by encouraging tummy time, changing your baby’s sleeping position, and limiting time in restrictive devices.

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

A: In some cases, pediatricians may recommend a specialized helmet to help reshape your baby’s head. However, repositioning techniques and physical therapy are often effective in correcting mild cases of positional plagiocephaly.

Q: When should I seek professional advice about my baby’s head shape?

A: If you notice significant changes in your baby’s head shape or have concerns about their development, it’s best to consult with a pediatrician or a specialist for an evaluation and personalized recommendations.