Baby’s Head Shape Concerns: Understanding Positional Plagiocephaly


Baby’s Head Shape Concerns: Understanding Positional Plagiocephaly

As a parent, it’s completely natural to worry about every aspect of your baby’s health and well-being. One common concern that many parents have is the shape of their baby’s head. If you’ve noticed any irregularities or asymmetries in your baby’s head shape, you may be dealing with a condition known as positional plagiocephaly.

Positional plagiocephaly, also known as flat head syndrome, is a condition where a baby’s head develops a flat spot due to external pressure. This can happen when a baby spends a lot of time lying on their back or consistently favoring one side of their head during sleep. While it can be concerning to see your baby’s head with a flat spot, it’s important to understand that positional plagiocephaly is quite common and usually not a serious medical issue.

Causes of Positional Plagiocephaly

The primary cause of positional plagiocephaly is pressure on a baby’s soft skull bones. Newborn babies have soft and pliable skulls to allow for easier passage through the birth canal and rapid brain growth in the first year of life. However, this softness also makes their skulls more susceptible to deformation when exposed to prolonged pressure in the same area.

Some common factors that contribute to positional plagiocephaly include:

  • Repeatedly sleeping on the back

  • Spending extended periods in car seats, swings, or bouncers

  • Having limited tummy time

  • Positioning the baby’s head against a flat or hard surface

Prevention and Treatment

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

  1. Encourage regular tummy time to help strengthen neck muscles and prevent flat spots.

  2. Change the baby’s head position during sleep to distribute pressure evenly.

  3. Avoid extended time in devices that put pressure on the baby’s head, such as car seats.

  4. Use positioning aids like specialized pillows or cushions to support the baby’s head during sleep.

If you notice any concerning changes in your baby’s head shape, it’s important to consult with your pediatrician. They can provide guidance on monitoring the condition and recommend potential treatments, such as physical therapy or helmet therapy in severe cases.


While positional plagiocephaly may seem alarming at first, it’s essential to remember that it is usually a benign condition that can be prevented and treated with the right interventions. By promoting healthy positioning practices and seeking guidance from your pediatrician, you can help ensure that your baby’s head shape develops properly and they continue to thrive.


Q: Is positional plagiocephaly permanent?

A: In most cases, positional plagiocephaly is temporary and can be corrected with interventions like repositioning and physical therapy. However, severe cases may require helmet therapy.

Q: How long should my baby have tummy time each day?

A: Aim for at least 15-30 minutes of supervised tummy time several times a day to help prevent flat spots and strengthen neck muscles.

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

A: If you notice significant asymmetry or flattening in your baby’s head shape that does not improve with repositioning, it’s essential to consult with your pediatrician for further evaluation and guidance.