Protecting Your Baby’s Head Shape: Positional Plagiocephaly 101


As a parent, it’s natural to want to do everything you can to keep your baby healthy and safe. When it comes to protecting your baby’s head shape, understanding positional plagiocephaly is important. Positional plagiocephaly, also known as flat head syndrome, occurs when a baby’s head develops a flat spot due to external pressure. It’s a common condition, but there are steps you can take to prevent it and promote healthy head shape development for your little one.

Understanding Positional Plagiocephaly

Positional plagiocephaly often develops when babies spend a lot of time in one position, such as lying on their backs in a crib. This can lead to a flat spot on the back or side of the head. While tummy time is important for development and preventing flat head syndrome, it’s also crucial for babies to have supervised tummy time while they are awake and alert. This will help prevent constant pressure on one area of the head.

Preventative Measures

There are several simple steps you can take to prevent positional plagiocephaly and promote healthy head shape development in your baby. Here are a few tips:

  • Alternate your baby’s head position during sleep: When placing your baby in the crib, alternate their head position from night to night so that constant pressure isn’t placed on the same spot.

  • Use tummy time: Incorporate supervised tummy time into your baby’s daily routine, starting from an early age. This will not only prevent flat spots from forming, but also help your baby develop strong neck and shoulder muscles.

  • Change up the scenery: Encourage your baby to spend time playing and resting in different locations throughout the day, such as on the floor, in a swing, or in a baby carrier. This will help reduce the amount of time spent in one position.

  • Limit time in infant carriers and car seats: While these are important for transportation, it’s best to limit the amount of time your baby spends in these devices when not necessary. When using them, try to take breaks and allow your baby some time out of the carrier or car seat.

  • Consult with your pediatrician: If you have concerns about your baby’s head shape, discuss them with your pediatrician. They can provide guidance and recommendations based on your baby’s specific needs.

Treatment Options

If you notice a flat spot developing on your baby’s head, it’s important to address it early. Your pediatrician may recommend repositioning techniques, physical therapy, or specialized headgear to help reshape your baby’s head. The key is to take action as soon as you notice an issue, as the earlier treatment begins, the more effective it can be.


Protecting your baby’s head shape is an important aspect of their overall health and development. By understanding positional plagiocephaly and taking preventative measures, you can help promote healthy head shape development for your little one. Remember to consult with your pediatrician if you have any concerns, and take action early if you notice any issues with your baby’s head shape.


Q: How much tummy time should I give my baby?

A: Start with a few minutes of supervised tummy time a few times a day, and gradually increase the duration as your baby grows and becomes more comfortable with this position.

Q: What if my baby doesn’t like tummy time?

A: It’s common for babies to initially resist tummy time, but with patience and encouragement, most babies will gradually adjust and even come to enjoy it.

Q: When should I be concerned about my baby’s head shape?

A: If you notice any asymmetry or flattening on your baby’s head, it’s best to discuss your concerns with your pediatrician. They can help determine if further evaluation or intervention is needed.