Understanding Plagiocephaly: Tips for Parents


As a parent, it’s natural to want the best for your child, and that includes their health and well-being. Plagiocephaly, also known as flat head syndrome, is a condition that can affect infants, and it’s important for parents to be aware of the causes, symptoms, and treatment options available. In this article, we’ll provide an overview of plagiocephaly and offer tips for parents on how to prevent and manage this condition.

What is Plagiocephaly?

Plagiocephaly is a condition characterized by an uneven or asymmetrical shape of the baby’s head. It can result from the baby spending too much time in one position, which can cause the bones of the skull to become misshapen. This may occur if the baby consistently rests with their head in the same position, such as when sleeping in a crib or car seat.

It’s important to note that plagiocephaly is generally a cosmetic issue and does not affect brain development. However, in some cases, it can lead to misalignment of the jaw or facial asymmetry, which may require treatment.

Prevention and Tips for Parents

While plagiocephaly is relatively common, there are steps parents can take to help prevent it. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Encourage tummy time: Giving your baby supervised tummy time while awake can help prevent flat spots from developing on their head.

  • Change positions: When putting your baby down to sleep, alternate the direction their head faces each time to avoid prolonged pressure on one spot.

  • Use a firm mattress: Ensure that your baby’s sleeping surface is firm to reduce the risk of flat head syndrome.

  • Avoid extended time in car seats and bouncers: Limit the amount of time your baby spends in car seats and bouncers to decrease the risk of developing plagiocephaly.

Treatment Options

If you notice flattening or asymmetry in your baby’s head, it’s important to discuss it with your pediatrician. Depending on the severity of the condition, treatment options may include:

  • Repositioning techniques: Your pediatrician may recommend specific repositioning techniques to help reshape your baby’s skull.

  • Helmets or headgear: In more severe cases, your baby may be fitted for a custom helmet or headgear to help guide the growth of their skull into a more symmetrical shape.

  • Physical therapy: Some babies may benefit from physical therapy to address any issues related to muscle strength or mobility.


While plagiocephaly can be concerning for parents, it’s important to remember that in most cases, it is a mild and treatable condition. By following the tips provided and seeking guidance from your pediatrician, you can help prevent and manage plagiocephaly in your infant.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is plagiocephaly common?

Yes, plagiocephaly is relatively common, affecting about 1 in 5 babies to some degree.

At what age does plagiocephaly typically occur?

Plagiocephaly often develops in the first few months of a baby’s life, as their skull is still soft and malleable.

Can plagiocephaly cause developmental delays?

In most cases, plagiocephaly does not cause developmental delays. It is primarily a cosmetic issue, but in some cases, it may lead to other related concerns that can be addressed with treatment.