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How to Prevent Flat Head

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Sometimes, babies develop a flat spot on their heads in-utero, but many cases — known as positional plagiocephaly — result simply from the way newborns sit and lie down.

With consistent pressure on the same place, an infant’s soft, somewhat malleable skull can slowly become deformed.

Flattening is harmless and often self-correcting over time, but prevention of this cosmetic concern is easy. If you notice a flat spot developing, consult your pediatrician for diagnosis and treatment advice.

 

How to Prevent Flat Head

How to Prevent Flat Head

1. Hold your baby as often as possible. The less time she spends with her head pressed against a surface, the less likely she is to develop a flat spot on her skull.

2. Limit the time your infant spends seated in a car seat, carrier or baby swing. Your baby is more likely to develop positional plagiocephaly if she spends lots of time with her head pressed against a headrest.

3. Change sides when bottle-feeding your baby so the same side of her head doesn’t always rest on the same side during meals. If you breast feed, you already do this.

4. Place your child on her stomach for “tummy time” often. This prevents her from laying her head against a hard surface and it helps strengthen the neck and shoulder muscles. When these muscles are weak, your baby doesn’t turn her head as often while seated or lying down.

5. Alternate the way your baby faces during naps and nighttime sleep. Always lay her on her back to sleep, but lay her head to alternating sides. If her crib is against the wall, place her head at alternating ends so she’ll naturally look outward at her room.

 

Tips & Warnings

  • Successful public awareness campaigns to prevent sudden infant death syndrome by encouraging parents to lie their babies on their backs to sleep has triggered a rise in flat heads. Regardless, it’s still important to put newborns on their backs for sleep to reduce the risk of SIDS.
  • Never use pillows or other props under your baby’s head to prevent a flat spot. These greatly increase the risk of SIDS and suffocation.

 

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