How to Prevent Flat-Head Syndrome

Some babies are prone to developing flat spots on their head. These three simple steps can keep little skulls symmetrical.
By Holly Pevzner
How to Prevent Flat-Head Syndrome

Approximately 1 in 5 infants develop skull asymmetry, due, in part, to parents following the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommendation that babies sleep on their backs to prevent sudden infant death syndrome, says James J. Laughlin, M.D., a pediatrician in Bloomington, IN, who co-authored the AAP policy statement on skull deformities. “Remaining in the same position for too long can cause flattening of the head,” he says. New research reveals that custom-made helmets (a common and expensive remedy) are largely ineffective. Try these three simple preventive strategies instead:

Encourage tummy time:
Promote 30 to 60 minutes daily, starting at birth. Begin with your baby lying across your chest. As she gets bigger, move onto the floor. Keep it up until she can roll over on her own.

Swap positions:
After your peanut goes to sleep, reposition her head so that it’s turned the other direction from when she dozed off. That way, she won’t spend the whole night with pressure on the same place.

Rotate her view: 
Babies turn their heads toward the action, usually the door of the nursery. Periodically change your baby’s orientation to the doorway, so that half the time she’s looking to the left, and half the time to the right.

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