Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Health & Parenting

Font Size

Safe Sleeping May Cause Flat Heads for Babies

continued...

"Anytime [parents] see an abnormal shape in the head in the front or back, or the head has an asymmetrical look, they should consult with a pediatrician," he suggests. "Oftentimes, the pediatrician can reassure that it's a mild condition and rule out more serious conditions like craniosynostosis," he says.

Shin also points out that plagiocephaly often occurs with a condition called muscular torticollis, or a shortness of the neck muscle.

"The biggest problem I have seen is the tendency of children to pick a side due to shortened neck muscle, which can result in mild to moderate deformity if untreated," says Ann Marie Flannery, MD, a pediatric neurosurgeon and professor at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta.

"The alert mother or father should notice if their child has a side tendency and do what they can to get them to change sides. If this is instituted when the baby is six weeks to two months, chances are that they will not have a flat head when they get older," she tells WebMD.

For example, if your child shows signs of torticollis, put their toys to the side they don't usually face, or try things to encourage them to look to the other side, she suggests.

"We have gotten away from using helmets because it is hard to get one that fits well," Flannery says. "There is some use for helmets in more serious cases, but they require a serious commitment, are extremely expensive, and we have no proof that they are better than repositioning."

 

1|2

Today on WebMD

Girl holding up card with BMI written
Is your child at a healthy weight?
toddler climbing
What happens in your child’s second year.
 
father and son with laundry basket
Get your kids to help around the house.
boy frowning at brocolli
Tips for dealing with mealtime mayhem
 
mother and daughter talking
Tool
child brushing his teeth
Slideshow
 
Sipping hot tea
Slideshow
Young woman holding lip at dentists office
Video
 
Which Vaccines Do Adults Need
Article
rl with friends
fitSlideshow
 
tissue box
Quiz
Child with adhd
Slideshow