Preventing Positional Plagiocephaly in Infants: What Moms Need to Know

Preventing Positional Plagiocephaly in Infants: What Moms Need to Know

As a new mom, one of your top priorities is ensuring the health and well-being of your precious little one. One potential concern that many parents may not be aware of is positional plagiocephaly, also known as flat head syndrome. This condition occurs when a baby’s head develops a flat spot due to prolonged pressure on one part of the skull. The good news is that there are steps you can take to prevent this from happening to your child. Here’s what you need to know.

Understanding the Causes

Positional plagiocephaly can develop when a baby spends too much time lying on their back, which is the recommended sleeping position to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Other contributing factors include limited tummy time during waking hours, excessive time in car seats or bouncers, and being born with torticollis, a condition that causes a baby to favor looking in one direction. Additionally, multiples are at a higher risk for developing positional plagiocephaly due to the cramped conditions of the womb.

Preventive Measures

While it’s essential to follow safe sleep guidelines, there are steps you can take to minimize the risk of positional plagiocephaly. Here are some key preventive measures:

  1. Tummy Time: Encourage your baby to spend supervised time on their tummy while they are awake. This not only helps to prevent flat spots but also strengthens their neck, back, and shoulder muscles.

  2. Vary Positions: Change your baby’s head position in the crib from night to night to prevent them from consistently resting on the same spot.

  3. Limited Time in Baby Gear: While it’s convenient to use car seats, strollers, and bouncers, try to limit the time your baby spends in these devices, as they can contribute to flat head syndrome.

  4. Physical Therapy: If your baby has torticollis, consult with their pediatrician about physical therapy exercises to help improve their neck mobility and reduce the risk of developing a flat spot.

Creating a Supportive Environment

As a mom, it’s important to create a supportive environment that encourages healthy development for your baby. This includes providing plenty of supervised tummy time, using a firm mattress and avoiding pillows and soft bedding in the crib, and being mindful of your baby’s head position during feedings and playtime. Additionally, be attentive to any signs of discomfort or unusual head shape and consult with your pediatrician if you have any concerns.


Positional plagiocephaly, or flat head syndrome, can be a common concern for infants, but there are steps you can take to prevent it. By promoting tummy time, varying your baby’s head position, and being mindful of their time in baby gear, you can help reduce the risk of flat spots developing on your baby’s head. Creating a supportive environment that encourages healthy development is key, and if you have any concerns, don’t hesitate to consult with your pediatrician for guidance.


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

A: Aim for at least 15-30 minutes of supervised tummy time spread throughout the day, gradually increasing the duration as your baby grows stronger.

Q: Can I use a special pillow or device to prevent flat head syndrome?

A: It’s best to avoid using special pillows or devices marketed as preventing flat head syndrome, as they have not been proven to be effective and may pose a suffocation risk.

Q: What should I do if I notice a flat spot developing on my baby’s head?

A: If you notice any unusual head shape or have concerns about your baby’s head development, consult with your pediatrician for an evaluation and guidance on preventive measures.