The Facts about Plagiocephaly: Causes and Treatment Options

Dear Parents,

Plagiocephaly, commonly known as flat head syndrome, is a condition that affects many infants. It occurs when a baby’s head develops a flat spot either on one side or in the back. This condition can cause concern for parents, but it is important to understand the causes and treatment options available.

Causes of Plagiocephaly

There are several factors that can contribute to the development of plagiocephaly in infants. One common cause is prolonged periods of time spent lying on their backs, such as during sleep or extended periods in car seats or swings. This constant pressure on the same spot of the head can lead to skull deformities.

Premature infants are also at a higher risk for developing plagiocephaly, as their skulls are softer and more malleable. Other risk factors include baby’s position in the womb, muscular torticollis (tightening of neck muscles), or multiple births.

Treatment Options for Plagiocephaly

If you notice that your baby has a flat spot on their head, it is important to consult with a pediatrician or a specialist. They will be able to assess the severity of the condition and recommend the best course of action.

One common treatment option for mild cases of plagiocephaly is repositioning techniques. This involves changing the baby’s position during sleep and awake times to relieve pressure on the flat spot. Tummy time and placing toys strategically can also help encourage the baby to move their head in different directions.

In more severe cases, a pediatrician may recommend the use of a helmet or headband. These devices help to reshape the baby’s skull by applying gentle, constant pressure on the flat areas. It is important to follow the specialist’s instructions carefully and ensure the device fits properly.

Physical therapy or exercises may also be recommended to address any underlying issues such as torticollis that may be contributing to the flat spot on the head.


Plagiocephaly is a common condition in infants and is usually not a cause for concern. By understanding the causes and treatment options available, parents can take proactive steps to address the issue and ensure their baby’s head develops properly. Remember to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice and guidance.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can plagiocephaly cause long-term problems?

A: In most cases, plagiocephaly does not cause long-term issues and can be successfully treated with repositioning techniques or devices.

Q: How long does treatment for plagiocephaly typically last?

A: The duration of treatment depends on the severity of the condition and the chosen treatment plan. In mild cases, repositioning techniques may be sufficient, while more severe cases may require several months of helmet therapy.

Q: Are there ways to prevent plagiocephaly in infants?

A: To reduce the risk of plagiocephaly, ensure that your baby spends time in different positions during the day, practice tummy time, and limit the time spent in car seats or swings.