Plagiocephaly: What Parents Need to Know


Plagiocephaly: What Parents Need to Know

As a parent, you always want what is best for your baby. From feeding to sleeping, you try to make sure that they are well taken care of in every way. One common issue that parents may come across is plagiocephaly, also known as flat head syndrome. If you have noticed that your baby’s head is flattened on one side or in the back, or if you have concerns about the shape of their head, this article is here to provide you with information on what parents need to know about plagiocephaly.

What is Plagiocephaly?

Plagiocephaly is a condition where a baby’s head develops a flat spot, often due to spending a lot of time on their back. This can happen when babies spend too much time in one position, such as lying in a crib or car seat. The flat spot is usually more prominent on one side of the head, which can cause asymmetry and misshapenness.

Causes of Plagiocephaly

There are a few reasons why plagiocephaly may occur:

  • Positional preference: Babies may prefer to turn their head to one side while sleeping, leading to a flat spot on that side of the head.

  • Restricted movement: Spending too much time in car seats, bouncers, or swings can limit a baby’s movement and contribute to plagiocephaly.

  • Muscle tightness: Issues with neck muscle tightness or torticollis can also lead to plagiocephaly.

Preventing Plagiocephaly

While it’s not always possible to prevent plagiocephaly, there are some steps you can take to reduce the risk:

  • Give your baby plenty of supervised tummy time when they are awake to help develop neck and shoulder muscles.

  • Alternate the side they sleep on, so they are not always looking in the same direction.

  • Avoid too much time in car seats, bouncers, or swings to allow for more movement.

  • Use a firm mattress and avoid propping your baby’s head up with pillows.

Treating Plagiocephaly

If you suspect that your baby has plagiocephaly, it’s essential to consult with your pediatrician. They can provide guidance on treatment options, which may include:

  • Encouraging more tummy time and repositioning techniques.

  • Physical therapy to help strengthen neck muscles and improve range of motion.

  • Helmet therapy, in more severe cases, to reshape the baby’s head over time.


Plagiocephaly is a common condition that many babies experience due to spending a lot of time on their backs. By being aware of the causes and prevention strategies, you can help reduce the risk of your baby developing a flat spot on their head. If you have any concerns about your baby’s head shape, don’t hesitate to consult with your pediatrician for guidance and support.


1. Is plagiocephaly a serious condition?

Plagiocephaly is usually a benign condition that can be treated with proper guidance from a healthcare provider. In most cases, it does not cause any long-term issues.

2. Can plagiocephaly be prevented?

While plagiocephaly may not always be preventable, parents can take steps to reduce the risk by promoting tummy time, alternating sleeping positions, and limiting time in restrictive devices.

3. How long does treatment for plagiocephaly typically take?

The duration of treatment for plagiocephaly can vary depending on the severity of the condition and the chosen treatment method. Some babies may see improvement within a few weeks, while others may require several months of therapy.

Remember, every baby is different, and it’s essential to consult with your healthcare provider to determine the best course of action for your child.