A Parent’s Guide to Positional Plagiocephaly


Positional 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 due to pressure on that area. This can happen when babies spend extended periods of time lying in the same position, such as when they sleep or during tummy time.

As a parent, it’s important to be aware of positional plagiocephaly and know how to prevent and treat it. In this guide, we’ll provide you with information on what positional plagiocephaly is, how to identify it, and the steps you can take to help prevent and treat it in your infant.

What is Positional Plagiocephaly?

Positional plagiocephaly is a condition in which a baby’s head becomes flattened in one area, leading to an asymmetrical appearance. This can occur when a baby’s head is subjected to prolonged and repeated pressure in the same spot, causing the soft bones of the skull to conform to the shape of the surface it’s resting on.

How to Identify Positional Plagiocephaly

Positional plagiocephaly is typically easy to identify. You may notice that your baby’s head appears flattened on one side, or that one ear is shifted forward compared to the other. In some cases, the forehead may also appear more prominent on one side. If you have any concerns about the shape of your baby’s head, it’s important to bring it to the attention of your pediatrician.

Prevention and Treatment

There are several steps you can take to prevent and treat positional plagiocephaly. These include:

  1. Change your baby’s position regularly: Encourage your baby to spend time on their tummy while they are awake and supervised. This can help prevent prolonged pressure on the back of their head.

  2. Hold your baby: Carrying your baby in your arms or using a baby carrier can also reduce the amount of time they spend lying on their back.

  3. Use a firm mattress: Ensure that your baby’s mattress is firm and flat, and avoid using positioning devices or pillows that can contribute to flattening of the head.

  4. Practice repositioning: Gently change the position of your baby’s head while they are sleeping to prevent them from favoring one side over the other.


Positional plagiocephaly is a common condition that can be effectively prevented and treated by taking simple measures to ensure that your baby’s head is not subjected to prolonged pressure in the same spot. By following the tips outlined in this guide and consulting with your pediatrician if you have any concerns, you can help promote healthy skull development in your infant.


Q: Is positional plagiocephaly a serious condition?

A: While positional plagiocephaly is not typically a cause for concern, it’s important to address it early to prevent any lasting effects on skull development.

Q: When should I see a doctor about my baby’s head shape?

A: If you notice any flattening or asymmetry in your baby’s head shape, it’s a good idea to bring it up with your pediatrician at a regular check-up.

Q: How long does it take for a baby’s head to round out?

A: With repositioning and tummy time, many babies’ heads will naturally round out within the first few months of life.