Avoid the Flat Head Syndrome: Tips for Dealing with Positional Plagiocephaly

Dear parents, we know that caring for your little one can be overwhelming at times, but it’s important to pay attention to their development and well-being. One common issue that affects many infants is positional plagiocephaly, also known as flat head syndrome. We’re here to provide you with some tips on how to prevent and manage this condition.

What is Positional Plagiocephaly?

Positional plagiocephaly occurs when a baby’s head develops a flat spot due to prolonged pressure on one area. This can happen when infants spend a lot of time lying on their backs, which is recommended for safe sleep practices to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). While it’s important to prioritize safe sleep, it’s also crucial to monitor your baby’s head shape and take steps to prevent flat head syndrome.

Tips for Preventing Flat Head Syndrome

  • **Encourage Tummy Time:** Tummy time is essential for your baby’s development and helps strengthen their neck and shoulder muscles. Aim for at least 30 minutes of tummy time each day, gradually increasing the duration as your baby grows.

  • **Change Positions:** Alternate the side of your baby’s head that they rest on during sleep and playtime. This can help distribute the pressure evenly and reduce the risk of developing a flat spot.

  • **Use a Supportive Mattress:** Choose a firm mattress with good support to ensure that your baby’s head is properly cushioned during sleep.

  • **Limit Time in Car Seats and Swings:** While it’s convenient to use car seats and swings for your baby, try not to keep them in these devices for extended periods. Prolonged time in car seats and swings can contribute to flat head syndrome.

Managing Flat Head Syndrome

If you notice that your baby is developing a flat spot on their head, don’t panic. Here are some tips for managing and improving the condition:

  • **Consult with a Pediatrician:** Your pediatrician can assess the severity of the flat head syndrome and recommend a treatment plan, which may include physical therapy or specialized helmets.

  • **Encourage Positioning Techniques:** Your pediatrician or a physical therapist can suggest positioning techniques to help reshape your baby’s head. These may include repositioning during sleep or using special pillows or devices.

  • **Monitor Progress:** Keep an eye on your baby’s head shape and track any changes. With consistent effort and the right interventions, you can help improve the flat spot over time.


Remember, flat head syndrome is a common condition that can be managed with proactive measures and intervention. By following the tips mentioned above and staying vigilant about your baby’s head shape, you can help prevent and improve positional plagiocephaly. Your pediatrician is your best resource for guidance and support, so don’t hesitate to reach out if you have concerns.


1. **How common is flat head syndrome in infants?**
Flat head syndrome is relatively common, especially with the Back to Sleep campaign promoting back sleeping for infants.

2. **At what age does positional plagiocephaly typically develop?**
Positional plagiocephaly can develop in infants during the first few months of life when they spend a lot of time in one position.

3. **Can flat head syndrome cause long-term problems for my baby?**
In most cases, flat head syndrome does not cause long-term issues and can be corrected with the right interventions.

4. **Are there any toys or devices that can help prevent flat head syndrome?**
There are specialized pillows and cushions available that promote proper head positioning during sleep and playtime. Consult with your pediatrician before using any of these products.