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Plagiocephaly is a condition that causes a baby’s head to have a flat spot (flat head syndrome) or be misshapen.

The most common form is positional plagiocephaly. It occurs when a baby’s head develops a flat spot due to pressure on that area. Babies are vulnerable because their skull is soft and pliable when they’re born.

Positional plagiocephaly typically develops after birth when babies spend time in a position that puts pressure on one part of the skull. Because babies spend so much time lying on their back, for example, they may develop a flat spot where their head presses against the mattress.

Everyone’s skull is a bit asymmetrical. And in many cases, a flat spot on a baby’s head will round out on its own around 6 months of age, as she starts crawling and sitting up. Nevertheless, if you notice flattening of your baby’s head at any time, don’t wait and talk to your pediatrician. More severe cases of positional plagiocephaly can be corrected by having the baby wear a custom helmet or band for two to four months. Be sure to chat with your baby’s provider about head shape at each well-child checkup.

The Back to Sleep Campaign was launched in the early 1990s to help prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, SIDS. Since the American Academy of Pediatrics started recommending placing babies on their backs when putting them to bed, the number of cases of SIDS has been cut in half, according to the CDC. That’s awesome!

But something that has increased since then is the number of cases of babies with flat head syndrome, sometimes referred to as positional plagiocephaly. If babies spend all of their time on their backs, it can lead to positional flattening or molding of the head.

A new report published this week in the journal Pediatrics contains new recommendations for pediatricians and parents on how to prevent and correct head flattening in babies. The number of babies diagnosed with the misshapen skull syndrome known as positional plagiocephaly has increased exponentially since safe sleep recommendations have had infants spending so much time on their backs, researchers found. And while they in no way suggest that parents ignore the recommended safe sleep practices, researchers suggest that pediatricians counsel parents from their babies’ very first checkups on ways to prevent and correct flattening heads.

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CNN.com lists 5 of the recommendations, which can help parents avoid placing their babies in skull-correcting helmets if the problem has not improved by 6 months of age:

  1. Increase “tummy” time, which is supervised time during the day when baby lies on its stomach. A baby should spend at least 30 to 60 minutes a day on it’s belly, something that can be done immediately after birth. This will help develop neck and shoulder muscles, says [the report’s lead author, Dr. James] Laughlin. It has also been shown to “enhance motor developmental scores,” according to this new report.
  2. The NIH recommends changing the direction your baby lies in the crib each week.  They say this change will encourage the baby to turn his or her head in different directions to avoid resting in the same position all the time.
  3. Some babies prefer to hold their head to one side. Laughlin suggests laying them down in a different way when they’re awake, so they have something interesting to look at on the opposite side. If you have them in a car seat or sitting in something else, you can also change the position to make the baby look in the opposite direction.
  4. Parents may find their babies sleep well sitting in a car seat, but this is another way they can develop an asymmetrical shape, especially in the first 6 months of life.  So experts suggest babies shouldn’t spend a prolonged period of time in a car seat (unless they are in a car of course) or bouncy seat.
  5. Cuddle!  The NIH says “getting cuddle time with the baby by holding him or her upright over one shoulder often during the day,” is another way to prevent flat spots.

CHECK OUT LE TOP BABY AND CHILDREN’S CLOTHING
AT
WWW.LETOP-USA.COM

 

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